Google issued a warning on Friday, raising its concerns about the future of Android in this important international market, saying that if the Indian antitrust watchdog’s decision is allowed to stand, it will increase the cost of devices in the South Asian market and encourage the proliferation of unchecked apps that pose threats to personal and governmental security.
Predatory apps from India and other nations are widely available online, exposing users to money fraud, data theft, and a variety of other risks. The company stated in a blog post titled “Heart of the Matter” that while Google holds itself responsible for the apps on the Play Store and performs malware scans as well as checks for compliance with local regulations, the same checks might not be carried out for apps sideloaded from other sources.
The Competition Commission of India levied two fines against Google, stating that the maker of Android had abused its dominant position in the nation by requiring that the full Google Mobile Suite be pre-installed on all Android-powered devices.
The Indian watchdog has mandated reforms to Google’s business methods that, according to analysts, could endanger the company’s capacity to survive financially in the marketplace. Google has filed an appeal with Indian courts against the directives.
“During India’s tremendous digital revolution over the past few years, Google has forged strong partnerships with the country. However, at a time when just 50% of Indians are online, the CCI’s order’s instructions deal a blow to ecosystem-wide initiatives to speed up digital adoption in the nation, the company noted in the blog post.
Google also cautioned that app developers would face increased expenses if the Indian antitrust watchdog’s orders were to be implemented.
According to the company, “In a forked Android ecosystem, small developers will be compelled to prioritize which of the multiple incompatible Android “forks” they write and maintain apps for.” This is because supporting more versions will raise their expenses.
Larger developers, who can support a wider range of incompatible forks, will be able to dominate the market based on their scale, rather than the quality of their product, and there won’t be the same level playing field as there is now with Android.
India has the most users among all Google’s markets. According to research firm Counterpoint, 97% of the 600 million smartphones in the country are powered by Google’s mobile operating system.
In 2020, Google promised to invest $10 billion over the next years in the South Asian market. It has previously invested up to $5.5 billion in Jio Platforms and Airtel, two enormous local telecom companies.