It said implementing these changes across the ecosystem would be a “complex process”, requiring “tremendous work”.
Google said on Wednesday it would allow device makers in India to license its individual apps for pre-installation and give users the option to choose their default search engine, announcing sweeping changes to how it promotes its Android platform.
The move came after the country The Supreme Court upheld tough antitrust directives last weekin dismissing Google’s appeal against a Competition Commission of India ruling that said the company abused its market position, and ordered it to change how it markets its Android platform in a key growth market.
Google has also made some changes related to its in-app billing system, which was at the center of another Indian antitrust decision recently as the company was found to engage in anti-competitive practices by restricting the use of third-party billing or payment processing services.
“Implementing these changes across the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work on our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and developers,” Google said in a blog post.
Google was concerned about the Android decision in India as the guidelines were deemed more comprehensive than those imposed in India The historic European Commission decision of 2018 against the operating system.
About 97 percent of the 600 million smartphones in India run Android, while in Europe, the system accounts for 75 percent of the 550 million smartphones, Counterpoint Research estimates.
Appeal from a lower court
CCI ruled in October that Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, had abused its dominant position in Android and required it to remove restrictions on device makers, including those related to pre-installing apps and ensuring search exclusivity. Google was also fined $161 million.
In hopes of blocking implementation of CCI’s directives, Google has contacted the Supreme Court, warning that the growth of its Android ecosystem will stall. It said it would have to change arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers if the guidance kicks in.
But the Supreme Court refused to block the directives as Google sought. The court also said a lower court – where Google first challenged Android’s directive – could continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by March 31.
“We continue to respectfully appeal certain aspects of CCI’s decisions,” Google said.
The US search giant has also said that it is updating Android compatibility requirements to make changes for partners to build incompatible variants of Android.
In Europe, Google has been fined for imposing what the commission called illegal restrictions on makers of Android mobile devices. Google is still defying the record $4.3 billion fine in this case.
In terms of in-app billing, Google said it will start offering users optional billing for all apps and games starting next month, which will help developers offer the option to choose alternative systems alongside Google’s when purchasing digital content within the app.