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Five start-ups to back Google by raising concerns about CCI ruling

Battlelines are firmly drawn in the epic Android case on the eve of the final hearing before NCLAT, commencing on Wednesday.

Five start-ups have appeared on the scene to back Google by raising concerns about the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) ruling, which has directed the tech giant to change its entire business model besides imposing a ₹1,337 crore penalty for its “anti-competitive” practices.

On the other side are US-based Epic Games and homegrown start-ups including MapMyIndia and OSlabs Technology, who argue that Google is hurting their business interests through its anti-competitive conduct in the Android ecosystem.

The three warriors against Google, who are backing the CCI’s ruling that imposed ten remedial directions on the tech giant’s anti-competitive conduct in various Android markets, have put in their impleadment applications before the NCLAT.

High Stakes
At stake in the Android case are enhanced choices for consumers and a fair chance for developers to compete with Google across verticals. For Google, it is the fight to retain its supremacy in the Android ecosystem.

From Wednesday until Friday, the NCLAT Principal Bench, comprised of Ashok Bhushan, Chairperson, and Alok Srivastava, Member (Technical), will conduct marathon hearings to decide on these applications while hearing the Google appeal.

Epic Games, which has been fighting Google in various jurisdictions around the world, has waded into the present case, strongly hailing the CCI and accusing Google of not complying with the competition watchdog’s remedial directions within the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court in the Android case.

Epic Games Director of Global Public Policy Bakari Middleton gushed: “The CCI took bold action to bring fairness, competition, and innovation to the mobile app ecosystem.”

Google Counter-Offensive
Google, meanwhile, is clearly evenly matched.

Five start-ups—Krishify (a social network and commerce platform for farmers), Chqbook (a Neo-Bank for Small Business Owners), ProEves (an aggregator of daycares and preschools), Drivezy (a car and bike sharing platform), and Doubtnut (an educational app)—are supporting the tech giant in its fight to save its anti-fragmentation agreement with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Google has filed documents before NCLAT ahead of the final hearing that show that these start-ups have flagged difficulties in dealing with multiple forked versions of Android in the absence of anti-fragmentation obligations.

Final Lap
NCLAT will now decide on Google’s appeal against the CCI order, which imposed a penalty of ₹1,337 crore and issued ten non-monetary directions which require the tech giant to entirely change its business model. The Hindu BusinessLine

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