Indian startups laud Supreme Court’s ruling in Google-CCI case | Business Standard News

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As per CCI’s order, Google shall not deny access to its Play Services Application Programming Interfaces to disadvantage OEMs, app developers and its competitors

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Several Indian startups have lauded the Supreme Court’s decision on Google-CCI order saying it may lead to a better user experience, more products and a level playing field for competitors of Google.

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the order passed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) directing Google to deposit 10 per cent of a penalty of Rs 1,337 crore imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on the finding of abuse of its dominant position in the Android ecosystem.

More importantly, the apex court denied any relief to the tech giant in complying with the ten directions issued by the CCI in its October 20 ruling last year.

As per the CCI order, Google shall not deny access to its Play Services Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to disadvantage OEMs, app developers, and its existing or potential competitors. This would ensure interoperability of apps between Android OS which complies with the compatibility requirements of Google and Android Forks. By virtue of this remedy, app developers would be able to port their apps easily onto Android forks.

Google shall also allow the developers of app stores to distribute their app stores through Play Store.

Rakesh Deshmukh, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Indian appstore platform Indus OS said the decision will lead to a cataclysmic change in the Indian smartphone ecosystem and further improve digital penetration in our country.

“The CCI order will create a level playing field for Indian startups, who can now compete with Google’s products. There will be much better products due to this competition. As a country, we have very specific problems. So this order will give users more choice and better user experience,” Deshmukh said.

He added that new Indian Startups will scale up in the country within the next three to five years, free of “restrictive regime.”

About 97 per cent of 600 million smartphone devices in India run on Android, according to Counterpoint Research estimates. Apple has just a 3% share.

Google licenses the Android system to smartphone makers, saying it provides more choice for everyone and agreements it strikes – which critics say are anti-competitive – help keep the operating system free and open-source.

Saumya Singh Rathore, co-founder of the social gaming platform WinZO said: “We have celebrated the CCI order. This is great news for the Indian ecosystem and has set a global precedent. The move is significant not only because of its implications in India but also on the global level.”

WinZo had sued Google in September last year for the tech giant’s Play Store policy at the time which, it said, allowed for the selective inclusion of only daily fantasy sports (DFS) and Rummy games on its Play Store, leaving out several skill-based gaming platforms and local developers.

“Play Store has very strict norms and anti-competitive policies. The feasibility of doing business through the Google ecosystem is very difficult,” Rathore said, adding that, “Last year, payments were a big issue on the app store as well. With this move, it will really help the start-up ecosystem as previous challenges such as cost of distribution, access to the market, and payments will be solved. As such, ease of doing business would be also significantly better.”

“India already has its own government-run app store called mSeva launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY),” Rathore said. “With this type of governmental support through way of the CCI, which is pushing back Google on some of its existing anti-competitive norms, is going to really help the ecosystem.

Snehil Khanor, the co-founder and CEO of dating app Trulymadly said the CCI’s order is a legendary verdict.

“The order will safeguard all future generations of Indian entrepreneurs from digital colonialism and 30 per cent tax. It will allow Indian developers to create great companies without any redundant restrictions. Google would have never become this big if Microsoft (owner of Internet explorer) would have put so many restrictions and taken away 30% of the revenue from google just because everyone was accessing it via Internet explorer,” Khanor said.

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