Google is understood to have told the government that its plans to move a portion of Pixel phone manufacturing to India from China will have to be put on hold pending the completion of the full court process regarding the recent Indian Competition Commission order. , which imposes restrictions on your Android ecosystem, is over.
The reason for the same is that the phones are manufactured for export and domestic market and must have a standard format. The company has informed the government that it is not possible to manufacture one set of phones for the domestic market and another for export markets, which it will have to do according to the CCI order.
Google planned to make between 500,000 and 1 million units of the Pixel smartphone in India, which would have represented between 10 and 20% of its annual production. Manufacturing in India would also have helped the company improve sales of Pixel smartphones in the country.
While imposing a Rs 1,338 crore fine on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple categories related to the Android mobile ecosystem, the ICC recently ordered that OEMs are not forced to pre-install a bouquet of apps of Google. He also said that the license for Google apps, including the Play Store, should not come with a clause requiring apps to be pre-installed on phones.
In a nutshell, this direction means that device manufacturers running Google’s open source Android operating system will have the freedom to choose which Google apps they want to install on their devices and which of the pre-installed devices they want to uninstall.
Although Google plans to challenge CCI’s order in the National Companies Act Court of Appeal, it will have to wait and see how the case plays out. In the meantime, if it starts making Google Pixel phones in India, it will have to comply with the CCI’s guidance and provide that flexibility in its Pixel phones as well.
When contacted, a Google India spokesperson said: “Indian developers have benefited from the unmatched technology, security, consumer protection and choice and flexibility provided by Android and Google Play. And, by keeping costs low, our model has fueled India’s digital transformation and expanded access for hundreds of millions of Indians. We remain committed to our users and developers and are reviewing the decision to assess next steps.”
Google’s decision to delay domestic manufacturing of Pixel phones comes at a time when the government is inviting global smartphone and electronics companies to manufacture in the country through production-linked incentive schemes.
Google’s rival Apple has been assembling phones domestically since 2017 and participated in the government’s production-linked incentive scheme for smartphones in 2020. It has exported $1 billion worth of iPhones in the first five months (April-August) of the current fiscal year. In FY22, Apple had exported $1.3 billion worth of iPhones, at an average of $108 million per month.
In the first five months of the current fiscal year, Apple’s average is double last year at $200 million per month. At this rate, Apple is likely to end the current fiscal year with exports worth around $2.5 billion or more. This is because the $1 billion exports do not include the iPhone 14 exports from India, as the iPhone 14 Made in India only started in late September 2022. Once the iPhone 14 joins the India’s export list, the average dollar export will increase. also since the factory value of an iPhone 14 is much higher than that of the iPhone 11 or iPhone 12.