Android users in India will soon have more control over their devices, thanks to a court ruling. Beginning next month, Indian Android wielders can choose a different billing system when paying for apps and in-app smartphone purchases rather than default to going through the Play Store. Google will also allow Indian users to select a different search engine as their default right as they set up a new device, which might have implications for upcoming EU regulations.
The move comes after a ruling last week by India’s Supreme Court. The trial started late last year when the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google $161 million for imposing restrictions on its manufacturing partners. Google attempted to challenge the order by maintaining this kind of practice would stall the Android ecosystem and that “no other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes.”
Google also won’t be able to require the installation of its branded apps to grant the license for running Android OS anymore. From now on, device manufacturers in India will be able to license “individual Google apps” as they like for pre-installation rather than needing to bundle the whole kit and caboodle. Google is also updating the Android compatibility requirements for its OEM partners to “build non-compatible or forked variants.”
Of particular note is seeing how users will react to being able to choose whether to buy apps and other in-app purchases through the Play Store, where Google takes a 30% cut from each transaction, or through an alternative billing service like JIO Money or Paytm—or even Amazon Pay, available in India.
The Department of Justice in the United States is also suing Google’s parent company, Alphabet, for a second time this week for practices within its digital advertising business, alleging that the company “corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry” to build out its monopoly.
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