Google and its subsidiary Google Play were fined 13,377.6 million rupees (equivalent to $162 million) by India’s competition regulator.
The fine is for accusing the internet giant of abusing its dominant position, The Indian Express reported. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that the technology company abused its dominance in a number of areas including Android operating system licensing, Android app store related to games, services. general web search, non-OS-specific mobile web browsers, and online video hosting platforms.
Google has 30 days to provide financial details and supporting documents as required by CCI or face higher penalties. The antitrust agency also ordered Google to stop and cancel certain business practices, including denying “disadvantaged” original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) access to Google’s Play Services plugins. them and license the Play store to OEMs with the condition that other Google services such as browser, email, or maps application services are installed first.
Google has been ordered to stop restricting app developers from distributing their apps outside of the Play Store, which Google warns opens users to cybersecurity risks.
Google is said to have removed 16 apps from the Play Store because they were found to be draining battery very quickly and consuming a lot of data. The apps also engage in ad fraud by impersonating users. According to Ars Technica, the apps facilitated background redirects to websites and generated those ad clicks. The activity of the applications has been determined by the cybersecurity company McAfee.
These applications belong to the category of utility applications. Many of them seem to have simple functions like currency conversion, flashlight operation, QR code scanning, etc. However, these apps are found to have background functions. McAfee has discovered that these apps will automatically download codes and access websites without any notice to the user. The app will also click on links and ads. Excessive background activity not only drains the battery and consumes internet data, but also increases the chance of a smartphone being infected with malware.