India tribunal declines Google’s request to block Android antitrust ruling

(Reuters) – An Indian tribunal on Wednesday declined a request by Google to block an antitrust ruling that ordered the tech giant to change its approach to its Android platform, dealing the U.S. firm a setback in a key growth market.

In October, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in markets such as online search and the Android app store, and asked it to change curbs on smartphone makers related to pre-installing apps.

During the hearing, Google’s counsel, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, repeatedly pushed for putting the decision on hold, or extending the date of implementation of CCI’s directives beyond Jan. 19. He said the CCI’s decision will force the company to change its business model and harm consumer interest.

The tribunal did not agree. “We are of opinion that at the moment given the voluminous nature of the appeal, there is no need to pass any interim order,” the two-member tribunal panel said.

Google told the tribunal in a legal filing that CCI’s investigation unit copied parts of a European ruling against the U.S. firm from a similar verdict on abuse of market dominance of its Android operating system, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The CCI investigators “copy-pasted extensively from a European Commission decision, deploying evidence from Europe that was not examined in India”, Google alleged.

The CCI has not responded yet to those allegations.

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