CCI Orders Investigation Into Google’s App Store Billing Practices

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New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has initiated an investigation into Alphabet’s Google, alleging that the tech giant has exploited its dominant position within the country’s online market.

The commission noted that it believes Google has potentially breached certain sections of the Act, namely Section 4(2)(a), Section 4(2)(b), and Section 4(2)(c), based on initial observations. This calls for further investigation into the matter. (Also Read: McDonald’s Suffers Worldwide Tech Outage, Customers Unable To Place Orders)

In a statement, the CCI mentioned, “In view of the foregoing, the Commission is of the prima facie view that Google has violated the provisions of Section 4(2)(a), 4(2)(b) and 4(2)(c) of the Act, as elaborated supra which warrants detailed investigation. (Also Read: Bengaluru Commuter Faces 50-minute Wait Time For Uber, Says ‘City Is Messed up’)

Accordingly, the Commission directs the Director General (‘DG’) to cause an investigation to be made into the matter under the provisions of Section 26(1) of the Act. The Commission also directs the DG to complete the investigation and submit a consolidated investigation report within a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of this order.”

This decision came after multiple Indian app developers and industry groups filed a complaint against Google and raised concerns about the unfair practices of Google in the past. The CCI’s investigative arm has been given 60 days to complete the probe.

Last month, Google removed over 100 apps from 10 Indian developers for not complying with its billing policies. The apps were later restored, but the developers must now adhere to Play Store billing policies.

The commission has accused Google of implementing its policies in a discriminatory way. It alleged that Google is making arbitrary distinctions between apps that offer digital goods and services versus those that offer physical goods and services, even though they provide similar facilities on the Play Store.

Earlier this month, startup founders said that they will continue to oppose the tech giant imposing a fee of 11 to 26 per cent on in-app payments. “Google charging up to 26 per cent of the app’s revenue, represents a significant financial burden for app developers,” TrulyMadly Co-Founder & CEO, Snehil Khanor, said.

During the ADIF (Alliance of Digital India Foundation) conference, the founders told reporters that their business dropped by around 40 per cent on the second day after their apps were delisted. (With Inputs From IANS)

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