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Google shakes up Android in India: ‘Change is brewing

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After losing a major antitrust case in India, Google has announced a series of changes to its Android system in the country. The most notable of these changes is the ability for users to choose their default search engine on Android. This move comes after India’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling from the country’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which accused Google of abusing its market position and imposed a fine of $161 million.

It is estimated that around 97% of smartphones in India run on Android. The antitrust proceedings against the tech giant began in October when the CCI requested that Google make changes to its Android ecosystem. The watchdog claimed that Google was “abusing” the licensing of its Android operating system for various services, including smartphones, web searches, browsing, and video hosting. The CCI accused Google of entering into “one-sided agreements” with smartphone manufacturers to ensure the dominance of its apps, thereby stifling competition and giving Google continuous access to consumer data and valuable advertising opportunities.

Google fought back against the CCI’s directives in the Supreme Court, arguing that “no other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes.” The tech giant claimed that the changes required by the CCI would force the company to alter arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers. The court ultimately rejected Google’s argument and ordered the lower court, where Google first challenged the order, to

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