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NCLAT to give its verdict in Google’s appeal against CCI ruling today

The National Company Law Appellate (NCLAT) is expected to deliver its verdict in Google’s appeal against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) ruling that the company had abused its dominant position in the Android ecosystem on March 29.

The NCLAT bench, led by Chairperson Justice (retd.) Ashok Bhushan and Dr. Alok Srivastava, reserved judgment after a month-long hearing that began on February 15.

During the hearing, Senior Counsels Arun Kathpalia and Maninder Singh represented Google, while Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman and standing counsel Samar Bhansal appeared for the CCI.

Application developers such as MapmyIndia, Indus OS, and Epic Games also argued that Google’s policies had a negative impact on them and drove them out of the market.

The case stems from 2018, when Android users alleged that Google was abusing its dominant position in the mobile operating system market, violating the Competition Act.

The CCI ordered an investigation by the director general, and in 2019 expressed a preliminary opinion that the mandatory pre-installation of the Google Mobile Services (GMS) suite amounted to the imposition of unfair conditions on device manufacturers.

On October 20, 2022, the CCI concluded that Google was abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem, and ordered the company to cease and desist from its practices and pay a penalty of Rs 1,338 crore.

The CCI held that Google could not force OEMs to pre-install its apps or restrict users from uninstalling such apps, nor offer incentives to OEMs to comply with its conditions. Google appealed the decision to the NCLAT in January, but failed to obtain immediate relief.

The company then approached the Supreme Court, which refused to intervene in the case but directed the NCLAT to deliver its judgment by March 31, 2023. Moneycontrol

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