Anti-Competition: Indian regulator orders Google to pay fresh $113m fine

*The Competition Commission of India has accused Google of ‘abusing’ its dominant position on the App Store to force app developers to use the company’s in-app payment system

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Alphabet’s Google, again, is facing a series of anti-trust cases in India.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), country’s competition regulator, Tuesday, October 25, 2022, fined the global technology giant 9billion Rupees ($113million; £98million) for anti-competitive practices, in a second such penalty in less than a week, agency report said.

It was learnt the Indian market regulator in its 199-page order accused Google of “abusing” its dominant position on the app store to force app developers to use its in-app payment system.

The CCI also directed the Big Tech to not restrict app developers from using third-party billing or payment services.

However, Google said it was reviewing the allegations.

Google model has powered India’s digital transformation: Spokesperson

The company’s Spokesperson told the BBC: “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.”

In the order, the Competition Commission of India said that Google was implementing certain policies on its Play Store that required app developers to “exclusively” use its payments system for distributing or selling apps and in-app services.

The regulator further directed Google to adopt eight remedies, or operations adjustments within three months, including not restricting “app developers from using any third-party billing/payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing apps.”

The regulator stated: “Google should ensure complete transparency in communicating with app developers and details about service fees charged.”

Google and anti-trust allegations

The CCI order is the latest setback for Google, which is facing a series of anti-trust allegations by developers and consumers in India.

The company, recently, was fined 13billion rupees ($161million; £144million) for using its Android platform to dominate the market.

The CCI as well noted that the tech giant was entering into forced agreements with players in the space to ensure that its bouquet of apps – such as Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps and others – were used, report said.

The Android-related inquiry was started in 2019, following complaints by consumers of Android smartphones. The case is similar to the one Google faced in Europe, where regulators imposed a $5billion fine on the company for using its Android operating system to gain unfair advantage in the market.

Meanwhile, Google has called CCI’s decision “a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses”, according to report.

The company also said that it would review the order and decide on the next steps.

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