This week, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) punished Google, the world’s largest search engine company, for allegedly violating its dominant position in Play Store policies. Google in India has penalised Rs. 936.44 crore today by the CCI. The corporation was also instructed to stop using unethical business practices. This represents yet another setback for India’s largest tech company.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) stated in a release that it has also been instructed to modify its conduct within a certain timeframe.
This is the second major CCI ruling against Google in less than a week. This is Google’s second significant CCI decision against it in less than a week. On 20th October, the commission penalised Google Rs. 1,337.76 crore for abusing its control of certain marketplaces for Android mobile devices and ordered the internet giant to avoid participating in a number of unethical business practices and asked to change the approach to its Android platform.
According to Google, the fine is a setback for Indian customers and said, “The CCI’s decision is a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses, opening serious security risks for Indians who trust Android’s security features, and raising the cost of mobile devices for Indians.”
Google spokesperson said in a statement, “Indian developers have benefited from the technology, security, consumer protections, and unrivalled choice and flexibility that Android and Google Play provide. And, 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 American giant may appeal the decisions in an Indian court.
The CCI stated that Google business partner in India should make sure to maintain total transparency when dealing with app developers and providing information about service prices.
According to the directive, Google has considerable power over developers. If they don’t utilise its authentic payment system, their apps are removed from the Play Store, where they would otherwise be accessible to the country’s billions of smartphone users. The CCI has found Google in India in violation of a number of regulations.
It has been discovered that the system is utilised to pay for applications and to complete any in-app transactions. Google cloud partner in India does not allow these developers to give a direct connection to a website for making the payment outside of Google’s Play Store jurisdiction, circumventing the GPBS process.
The 199-page CCI order stated that Google partner in India were also asked to implement 8 remedial actions or modifications within three months. The order also states that Google in India should permit app developers to use third-party payment systems, not forbid them from doing so. Transparency regarding the data gathered on its platform must also be acknowledged. And sure, Google office in India is not allowed to in any way prevent other applications from using its own UPI app to accept payments through UPI.
Following the filing of an antitrust case against Google, the inquiry of the Google payment ecosystem was launched in 2020. The complainant’s attorney, Naval Chopra, an antitrust partner at India’s Shardul Amarchand law firm, told Reuters on Tuesday that the CCI’s judgement will promote healthy competition and lower costs for app developers. Chopra, who declined to give the identity of the complainant for whom he had brought the case, stated, “The CCI order directing Google to allow alternate payment processing systems will remove the artificial barrier that Google had erected”.
On Thursday, the competition watchdog fined Google in India a hefty Rs 1,337.76 crore for exploiting its control over a number of markets in regard to Android mobile devices and ordered the internet giant to stop engaging in a number of unethical business practices. The company referred to the decision as a “major setback” for businesses and customers in India.
Google has been criticised for requiring software developers using its app store to adopt an unique in-app payment system that charges fees of up to 30% on transactions made within an app, even in South Korea. Google has recently started to accept other payment methods in more countries.
According to Counterpoint Research, 97% of the 600 million cell phones in India run on the Android operating system.
Moreover, a top EU court mainly dismissed Google’s appeal of a record antitrust penalties issued by the EU for restricting competition and limiting consumer choice through the dominance of its mobile Android operating system beginning in September of this year. The General Court of the European Court of Justice mostly upheld the EU executive Commission‘s 2018 decision to punish Google more than 4 billion euros (USD 3.99 billion).
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