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Google captured market by manipulation, Start-up tells SC

In what appears to be a bid to corner Google, homegrown geotech startup MapMyIndia on Monday (January 16) reportedly filed an impleadment plea before the Supreme Court in connection with the Android antitrust ruling against the former, and accused the tech giant of depriving the market of competition.

In its plea before the apex court, the startup opposed the tech major’s appeal for an interim stay on the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) antitrust directives pertaining to Android devices ecosystem.

Calling for making MaymyIndia a party to the case, the startup argued that any attempt to delay the implementation of the competition watchdog’s verdict would render the entire ‘relief package’ ‘meaningless’.

“…after losing all the potential growth to Google due to its anti-competitive conduct, MapmyIndia has finally received a chance to revive its operations in the market since it can now compete on merits in a limited manner due to the remedies which have been passed by the CCI,” the impleadment plea, reviewed by the Hindu BusinessLine, said.

MapmyIndia said that the giant was trying to take away these remedies through the ‘instant appeal’ which could impact the geotech startup significantly. Citing direct competition with Google, it noted that it was aware of market realities and said that it was in a position to suggest ‘additional remedies which would be beneficial for maintaining and promoting the competition in the relevant market’.

MapMyIndia, in its application, argued that Google ‘very systematically’ captured the market via its various conducts and deprived the market of ‘any competition whatsoever’.

Speaking to Inc42, MapmyIndia CEO Rohan Verma said that Google distorted the internet and mobile market in the past 15 years. He also said that despite offering better products and being in the mapping space from ‘much before’ Google’s entry into the Indian market, MapmyIndia suffered tremendously due to the US-based company’s anti-competitive practices.

“We are hopeful that justice will prevail and that Google will not get away with the wrongs they have committed. Indian innovation, economy, ecosystem and consumers will thrive in an environment where Google is not a monopoly and where Google does not hold a vice grip over the Indian market,” Verma added.

Multi-Pronged Attack
MapmyIndia is not the first Indian startup to move the Supreme Court against Google. Earlier, OSlabs Technology filed an impleadment plea before the top court opposing Google’s plea for quashing the CCI directives.

OSlabs competes with Google across two categories – app marketplace (Indus App Bazaar) and mobile operating systems (IndusOS) – both of which are the bedrock of two separate antitrust rulings by the competition watchdog.

At the centre of the debate are two separate antitrust rulings by the CCI which said Google abused its market dominance in the Android devices market and with regards to its Play Store policies.

While the competition watchdog imposed a fine of INR 1,337.8 Cr on Google in the Android case, it imposed an additional INR 936 Cr fine over its app marketplace policies. As a result, Google knocked the doors of NCLAT which refused to grant any interim relief to the tech major and directed it to deposit 10% of each of the fines in two separate cases.

Subsequently, Google approached the apex court and sought quashing of the NCLAT order with regards to Android devices market. The SC is expected to hear the matter on Wednesday (January 18). Inc42

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