India orders antitrust probe into Google’s App Store billing practices


India’s antitrust regulator has ordered an investigation into Alphabet’s Google amid a dispute with some Indian developers. over its in-app billing system, saying the US tech giant applied its policies in an “unfair” and “discriminatory manner.”

The Competition Commission of India said in an order on Friday that Google appears to have violated several provisions of the country’s antitrust law and asked its investigation arm to complete the investigation within 60 days. The order comes in response to a complaint filed by several Indian app developers and industry groups, many of whom have publicly raised concerns about unfair practices by Google.

Google late last month removed more than 100 apps from a group of 10 developers in India after the Indian companies “consistently did not comply with its billing policies.” Google later reinstated the apps, but companies must follow Play Store billing policies.

CCI’s charges focus on Google’s billing system for in-app purchases and paid apps on its Play Store. The regulator said Google was charging excessive and unreasonable service fees ranging from 10% to 30% from app developers, which appeared to be disproportionate to the economic value of the services provided by the company.

“The price being charged by Google appears unreasonable in itself,” the regulator said in its 21-page order. “Given this complete dependence of app developers on the Google Play Store, the price charged by Google appears unreasonable in itself.”

The Commission also said that Google is applying its policies in a discriminatory manner, providing an arbitrary distinction between apps offering digital goods and services and apps offering physical goods and services, even if they Enjoy similar features on Play Store.

The watchdog’s decision is the latest headache for Google in India, its biggest market by users but where it has long faced allegations of anti-competitive practices. Google has deployed over $10 billion in India and has promised to invest billions of dollars in the coming years. The company is also an investor in Jio Platforms and Bharti Airtel, two of India’s top telecom operators.

CCI imposed a record fine of $162 million on the company in 2022 for abusing its dominant position in the Android smartphone market and asked the firm to change its business model. A few days later, the regulator fined Google $113 million for abusing the dominant position of the Google Play Store and ordered the company to require app developers to use third-party payment processing services for in-app purchases or in-app purchases. Allow to use.

The US giant had previously defended its Play Store policies, saying that the service fee supports its investment in Android and the Play Store, allowing it to provide tools and a global platform for developers to reach billions of consumers around the world. Permission is granted.

Lal Chand Bisu, co-founder and chief executive of KuCoo FM, said last month that the Android maker has become the “most evil” partner to do business with and the Indian startup ecosystem is “completely” under its control. “Now we have no option but to accept their conditions. This will destroy our business and make KUKU FM inaccessible to most of the country, but when has a monopoly ever cared about anything beyond itself,” he said. said in a post on,

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