Antitrust investigation against Google over payments app launches by India.

    The competition Commission of India ordered a probe against the giant tech Google for abusing its dominant position in the app store to promote its own payment services. This complaint was filed in February this year. The complainant filed the 6 allegations, in which four were rejected by the CCI. While two allegations were subject to investigation.

    INVESTIGATION-

    The Competition Commission of India has ordered the investigation about the allegation that Google promotes Google Pay while setting up an Android smartphone and whether phone vendors have a choice to avoid this.

    The court also ordered a probe if the Play Store’s billing system is designed “to the disadvantage of both i.e. apps facilitating payment through UPI (Unified Payments Interface), as well as users.”

    INFORMATION-

    The CCI rejected the 4 allegations and noted that these complaints were  related to search manipulation to favor Google Pay; prominent placement of Google Pay on Play Store; search advertisement manipulation on Play Store; and exclusivity requirements imposed by Google do not warrant an investigation.

    ORDER-

    The CCI has ordered for detailed investigation in the 2 allegations. The order stated, “The Commission is of the prima facie view that the Opposite Parties (Google) have contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act (Competition Act, 2002).”

    Section 4 of the Competition Act refrains from the abuse of dominant market position.

    The court directed the  director general (DG) for detailed investigation against anti- competition practices.

    CONCERNS-

    App developers raise concerns over Google’s high commission.

    In fact, Indian app developers have raised concerns over Google charging 30% commission on paid apps and In-App Purchases (IAPs). Several developers have said that the internet giant cannot compel domestic app developers/owners to sell digital services by compulsory use of its billing system.

    GOOGLE’S RESPONSE-

    Google stated that “We are pleased that the CCI has rejected several claims made by the anonymous complainant.”

    He also stated that Google Pay operates in an extremely competitive environment, and GPay is successful as it offers users a simple and secure payments experience and not by any malpractices.