CCI Approves Google’s $4.5 Billion Deal With Reliance’s Jio Platforms

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India’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has approved Google acquiring a 7.73 percent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 33,737 crore. It has cleared the way for Google to develop entry-level Android smartphones jointly. The approval comes when there is intense scrutiny over the impact of global firms, including Google, on smaller companies.

As per the deal signed on July 15 this year, it will make investments into the digital arm of Reliance Industries through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Google International LLC. The nod comes within days of CCI ordering a probe into two of several allegations made in a complaint filed in February. The complaint alleges that Google uses its pay service “Google Pay” on Android, the operating system it owns.

Google and Jio Platforms are also collaborating on developing a customized version of the Android mobile operating system to build low-cost, entry-level smartphones to serve the next hundreds of millions of users. It is expected to launch entry-level 5G phones next year, costing less than Rs 5000.

Jio will launch as many as 200 million smartphones in the next three years, according to a pitch the telecom giant has made to several developers. It already has Kai-OS-based Jio phone 4G models, which are very popular in India. As many as 40 million Jio Phones are already among the masses. However, the app ecosystem in these smartphones isn’t very advanced yet. The collaboration of Google with Jio will make the Kai-OS low-end phones even more appealing.