In the case of Kshitiz Arya v. Google LLC, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has directed a probe by its Director-General into allegedly anticompetitive contracts entered into by Google with smart TV producers. A plea was placed before the CCI claiming that six TV producing companies listed in the top ten TV manufacturers, have made an agreement with Android TV and therefore, Google should dominate the market concerning licensable operating systems for smart televisions.
CCI opined that these agreements constitute a prima facie conspiracy to ensure Google's dominance in PlayStore. These agreements would benefit Google's relevant markets such as online video hosting and streaming services of YouTube and so on, which has violated Section 4(2)(e) of the Act.
“The Commission is of the prima facie conclusion that compulsory pre-installation of all the Google Applications under Television App Distribution Agreements (TADA) amounts to the intrusion of an unfair condition on the smart TV device manufacturers and thereby in infringement of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act"
Considering these things CCI ordered the Director-General to conduct a full-fledged investigation regarding the same. The CCI stated that by mandating the pre-installation of Google's app on Android devices, Google confined and deducted the capacity and incentive of device companies to produce and trade devices operating on alternative variants of Android. The claims made by the informants were that these agreements among Google and all smart TV OEMs have made a hindrance to operating system developers for competing and producing more efficient ‘forked android’ Operating System.
CCI noted that “As per the Informants, given the important market condition of Google in the appropriate markets, such agreements are likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition and therefore, are agreements in contravention of Section 3(1) of the Act.”
It was also claimed by the informants that these necessities forced upon the hardware manufacturers by the ACC curb their freedom. The CCI stated that such mandatory obligations which were meant to be applied across all the OEMs manufactured devices concluded violation of provisions of Section 4(2)(d) of the Act because the acceptance of those obligations by other parties to the contract as per their commercial usage, shows no relation with the subject of such contract. CCI directed DG to conduct an investigation and submit its report within 2 months.