Google has lost the appeal to the Indian Supreme Court. As a result, manufacturers may no longer be required to supply apps if they want to install the Play Store on phones. Google must also ensure that users can remove included apps.
Chrome in the Play Store The new rules take effect on Thursday, writes Reuters. From then on, Google may no longer oblige smartphone manufacturers who put the Play Store on their phones to also put Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube on their phones. In addition, included apps must be removable. The Supreme Court’s ruling does not mean the end of the appeal, but Google must comply until a lower court rules on Google’s objection at the end of March.
According to Google, the obligation to keep Android free for manufacturers helps keep smartphone prices lower. The Indian Competition Commission of India ruled in October that this practice is an anti-competitive practice. Google obliges manufacturers who want to include Google’s Play Store to also install a number of other apps and to give them a prominent place. Manufacturers go along with that, because the Play Store contains almost all the apps that users are looking for on Android phones. In addition to apps from Google, manufacturers are also allowed to supply other apps and often do so. For example, apps from Microsoft or Meta are also pre-installed on many phones.
It was previously known that Google was challenging the Indian fine. The Indian Commission started investigating Google 3.5 years ago because the tech giant requires phone manufacturers to pre-install the entire Google Mobile Suite on devices. Previously, Google also received fines in other countries for its abuse of power around Android. For example, Google has to pay a fine of more than 4 billion euros from the European Commission. An Italian market regulator fined Google for banning certain apps from the Google Play Store that competed with Google’s apps. In addition, Google has been taken to court in the US for its dominance in the search engine field.