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Google must comply with CCI guidelines for Android phones in India

After failing to stay on appeals before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and the Supreme Court, Google has announced it will comply with certain Competitive Commission of India (CCI) guidelines on Android phones and Play Store policies.

“We take seriously our obligation to comply with local laws and regulations in India. The recent Competition Commission of India (CCI) guidelines for Android and Play require us to make significant changes for India and today we informed the CCI of how we are complying with their guidelines,” Google said in a statement.

It has announced a series of measures to ensure business with Android and the Google Play Store continues in India.

Be sure to read | Everything you need to know about the Google-CCI battle

Here are the most important changes:
1) Going forward, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and others will be able to license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their devices

2) Also, Google will release an update for all eligible Android phones. After updating to the new firmware, users will see an option to change their default search engine from Google to one of the preferred browser apps

3) Google will soon update the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes for partners to create non-compatible or forked variants

4) Android phone users and developers will be given the option of “Billing at user’s choice”. It will be available for all apps and games from February. This allows developers to offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system to the Google Play billing system when purchasing in-app digital content

Google will soon be revising its Help Center articles and FAQs to provide more information about the services provided by Google Play and how and when the Google Play service fee applies.

Although Google has always offered the freedom to download apps for users from a developer’s website, it will educate phone users on how to protect their privacy.

In October 2022, CCI imposed a fine of Rs.1,337.76 crore for abusing its powers over OEMs to install CCI’s pre-installed apps on Android phones. And Google app developers conduct billing transactions only on their proprietary system.

As previously mentioned, Google disagreed with CCI’s policy and had appealed to NCLAT and the Supreme Court to stay the policy and penalty. It argued that easing restrictions on certain aspects such as Android phones could jeopardize the device owner’s privacy and security.

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