In a recent development, Google has received partial relief in the Android antitrust case in India. On Wednesday, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal set aside four of the ten directives issued by the local watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI). One of the directives that were set aside pertains to allowing the hosting of third-party app stores within Play Store.
While upholding the $161 million penalty imposed by the CCI, the tribunal court said that the earlier verdict was “not in violation of the principles of natural justice.” This ruling provides Google with some relief as it had argued that the CCI’s order was too similar to the European Commission’s verdict in 2018 and suffered from “confirmation bias.”
The CCI had ordered Google to stop forcing smartphone manufacturers to bundle too many Google apps on their devices by default. The watchdog had also asked Google to give users the option to remove Google apps, use third-party billing options on Play Store, and change their search engine if they so desire.
Despite appealing against the order, Google has agreed to make some changes to its business practices. The company has said that it will allow smartphone vendors in India to license individual apps for pre-installation on their Android-powered devices. Furthermore, consumers will also have the freedom to change their search engine and use third-party billing options for app and game purchases on Play Store.