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Google accused of using Android to thwart rivals in India

Watchdog probes alleged abuse of power in world's second-largest mobile market

Google has been hit by a series of antitrust allegations.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- The Indian antitrust watchdog has launched an investigation into Google for allegedly putting competing developers at a disadvantage in accessing mobile phones that use its Android operating system.

The Competition Commission of India has been reviewing the case for six months and met with executives of the Alphabet unit at least once, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing sources with direct knowledge.

In the European Union, Google was fined 4.34 billion euros ($4.91 billion) last July for antitrust violations that included essentially forcing makers of Android-powered phones to pre-install its Google Search app and its Chrome web browser.

The new probe here "is on the lines of the EU case, but at a preliminary stage," a source told Reuters.

India has the world's second-largest base of mobile phone users, after China. About 98% of all smartphones in the country -- many of them cheaper models from Chinese, South Korean and Indian players -- run on Android.

The CCI imposed a 1.36 billion rupee ($19.2 million) fine on Google last year for rigging search results to favor itself and abusing its market dominance.

Google has appealed both fines.

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