Google will review its agreements with phone makers and other partners in India and will make a number of other changes to comply with local antitrust watchdog guidelines.
Last year, the company was fined $161 million by the Competition Commission of India and ordered to make a number of changes to its business practices. Google said yesterday that it will allow smartphone makers in India to license individual apps for pre-installation on their Android devices.
Google will also give consumers the ability to change their search engine and use third-party payment options to purchase apps and games from the Play Store starting next month.
Google said it would continue to challenge the rulings from the Competition Commission of India. But he will continue to make changes to comply with the law of the country. At the same time, the company warns that compliance with the Commission’s guidance will lead to higher prices for devices in the world’s second largest smartphone market and will lead to the proliferation of unverified applications that will pose a threat to personal and national security.
India is a major market for Google, where it has over half a billion users. According to research firm Counterpoint, more than 97% of all smartphones in India run Google’s Android mobile operating system. Google has invested billions in the country over the past decade and is in the process of investing another $10 billion.
Here is a set of key changes that Google is making in India:
- OEMs will only be able to license selected Google apps to pre-install on their devices.
- Android users have always been able to customize their devices according to their preferences. Indian users will now be able to select their default search engine through a selection screen that will soon begin to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.
- Android compatibility requirements have been updated to allow partners to create incompatible forks of the OS.
- Payment of Choice will be available for all apps and games starting next month. With User Choice Billing, developers can offer users the option of choosing an alternative billing system alongside the Google Play billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.
- Android has always supported installing apps from a variety of sources, including third-party downloads, which involve downloading apps directly from the developer’s website. Recently, the Android installation process has been modified to automatically update downloaded apps and app stores while ensuring users understand potential security risks
“Introducing these changes to the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work on our part and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers,” Google said on Wednesday. “Our commitment to Indian users and the country’s digital transformation remains unwavering.”
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