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October 26, 2022

Competition Commission of India imposes $113m fine on Google

Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a fine of $113m on Alphabet‘s Google for anti-competitive practices.

The antitrust body said that Google should not restrict app developers from leveraging third-party billing or payment processing services in the country, reported Reuters.

CCI stated that Google used its “dominant position” with regard to Play Store to compel app developers to leverage its in-app payment system, while pointing out that the sale of in-app digital goods is an important way for developers to make money.

This is the latest setback for the search engine giant in one of its key markets, where it was imposed another $162m fine by the watchdog this month for anticompetitive practices associated to its Android operating system and was notified to alter its approach to its Android platform.

A Google spokesperson was quoted by Times of India as saying, “By keeping costs low, our model has powered 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 evaluate the next steps.”

The company can appeal the CCI orders in an Indian tribunal.

As per the 199-page CCI order, the US company has been asked to undertake eight remedial steps or make operational adjustments within three months.

These included not restricting “app developers from using any third-party billing/ payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing apps.”

The CCI further added that Google needs to make sure transparency in communicating with app developers and details about the service fees.

This order by CCI is expected to provide a relief for Indian startups and smaller firms which have for long complained about Google’s policy of imposing its own payments system on app developers.

The probe into Google’s payment mechanism was launched in 2020, following an antitrust case filed against Google.

The search engine giant has faced criticism across the world. In South Korea, it required software developers to use its app store to leverage its in-app payment system that charges up to 30% commission on purchases made within an app.

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