India antitrust body denies Google’s allegation it copied EU’s Android order

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s competition regulator on Thursday denied allegations by Google that investigators had “copy-pasted” parts of a European ruling against the U.S. firm for abusing the market dominance of its Android platform.

“We have not cut, copy and paste,” N Venkataraman, a government lawyer representing the Competition Commission of India (CCI), told the top court.

The comments came at a hearing in India’s Supreme Court, where Google is seeking to block the CCI ruling.

Google had argued in its legal filings, seen by Reuters, that CCI’s investigation unit “copy-pasted extensively from a European Commission decision, deploying evidence from Europe that was not examined in India”.

“There are more than 50 instances of copypasting”, in some cases “word-for-word”, Google said. The European Commission has not responded to a request for comment on the allegation.

The CCI has fined Alphabet Inc-owned Google $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in Android, which powers 97% of smartphones in India, and asked it to change restrictions imposed on smartphone makers related to pre-installing apps.

Google had challenged the directive saying it would hurt consumers and also its business, warning the growth of the Android ecosystem will stall if the far-reaching measures were to be implemented.

During Thursday’s hearing, Google’s counsel repeatedly pressed judges to put CCI ruling on hold, saying it is pro-competition and does not abuse its market position.

The judges are yet to reach a decision.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra, Arpan Chaturvedi and Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Toby Chopra and Vin Shahrestani)