Google “unfairly” blocks competing payments on the Play Store: CCI

“We will continue to engage with the ICC and demonstrate that our practices benefit Indian consumers and developers, without restricting competition in any way,” Google said in a statement.

In its preliminary report last month, the competition regulator said, “Google is imposing unfair and discriminatory terms in violation of regulations.”

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), through its investigation, found that Google’s charging scheme for app developers is “unfair and discriminatory”.

In its preliminary report last month, the competition regulator said, “Google is imposing unfair and discriminatory terms in violation of regulations.”

“Google’s behavior also results in the denial of market access to competing UPI applications, as the market for UPI-enabled digital payment applications is multifaceted, and network effects will lead to a situation where Google Pay competitors will be completely excluded. of the market in the long run,” he said, according to a Bloomberg report.

The ICC has launched an investigation after complaints against the search engine giant over its policies on the Play Store.

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Developers around the world have also expressed concerns about the high commissions charged by app stores owned by Google and Apple. After serious backlash, Google had reduced commission fees from 30% to 15%.

After regulatory action in South Korea, Google was forced to provide an alternative billing system and said it was cutting app maker fees by 4%.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), an industry body for Indian digital startups, filed a petition with CCI last year against Google’s new Play Store policies.

“We argued that Google must be fair and end ongoing anti-competitive practices in the name of PlayStore policies. The case has been contested, is being investigated by the ICC and is awaiting verdict,” ADIF had said in October 2021 .

As part of the investigation, CCI consolidated three different orders and complaints, filed with the commission between 2020 and 2021, which allege that Google favors Google Pay over other competing apps, through its control over the Play Store and Android operation. system (OS), a report in Economic period noted.

In 2020, the company had announced March 31, 2022 as the deadline for Indian developers to onboard the Play Store billing system.

Google had said that apps that choose to sell digital content through its Play Store must use Google Play’s billing system and pay a percentage of the in-app purchase as a fee.

He had given time until September 30, 2021 to make the necessary updates. However, in December last year, Google extended the deadline until October 31, 2022.

Reacting to CCI’s initial findings, ADIF said it would refrain from commenting on the report.

“As the matter is under investigation by the ICC, and given that the report or its findings have not been made public by the ICC, we are not free to comment on specific issues relating to the case or proceeding.

“At ADIF, we place the greatest trust in the CCI and remain committed to respect for legality. As the ICC releases its final findings/verdict, we would be happy to comment on the matter and share our views,” ADIF said in a statement.

“We will continue to engage with the ICC and demonstrate that our practices benefit Indian consumers and developers, without restricting competition in any way,” Google said in a statement.

(With agency contributions)

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