Google to allow device makers in India to license its individual apps for pre-installation

Google said on Wednesday it will allow device makers in India to license its individual apps for pre-installation and give an option to users to choose their default search engine, announcing sweeping changes to how it promotes its Android system.

The move comes after the country’s Supreme Court upheld stringent antitrust directives last week, rejecting a Google challenge against a Competition Commission of India ruling that said the company abused its market position, ordering it to change how it markets its Android system in a key growth market, reports Reuters.

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Google also made some changes related to its in-app billing system, which was at the centre of another Indian antitrust decision recently where the company was found engaging in anti-competitive practices by restricting the use of third-party billing or payment processing services.

“Implementation of these changes across the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work at our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers,” Google said in a blog post.

Google had been concerned about India’s Android decision as the directives were seen as more sweeping than those imposed in the European Commission’s landmark 2018 ruling against the operating system.

About 97% of 600 million smartphones in India run on Android, while in Europe, the system accounts for 75% of the 550 million smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research estimates.

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