Last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google for restricting third-party payment services and was also investigating the company for other anti-competitive behavior. After Google’s recent Supreme Court petition to block the CCI’s order was dismissed, the company will have to change its contracts with phone manufacturers and loosen rules for users.
Starting next month, Android users in India will be able to use third-party payment services for apps and games. You can also choose a different default search engine using the selection screen during setup. These specific rules apply only to India, but other regions have similar rules in place.
Smartphone manufacturers may license individual Google apps to be pre-installed on devices they ship. Previously, manufacturers had to bundle the entire Google suite.
Google will continue to appeal the CCI’s decision, but for now we are working to implement the following changes:
- OEMs can license individual Google apps for pre-installation on devices.
- Android users can always customize their devices to suit their preferences. Users in India can now choose their default search engine via a selection screen that will soon start appearing when users set up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.
- We’re updating the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes that allow partners to build incompatible or forked variants.
- User Choice Payments will be available for all apps and games starting next month. User Choice Billing allows developers to offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system in addition to Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.
- Android has always supported installing apps from a variety of sources, including sideloading, which is downloading apps directly from the developer’s website. We recently made changes to the Android install flow and auto-update feature for sideloaded apps and app stores, while ensuring users understand the potential security risks.
A few days ago, Google also agreed to list third-party app stores on the Google Play Store under pressure from CCI (see Reuters report for details).