CCI Penalizes Google Rs. 936 Crores for Imposing Unfair & Discriminatory Terms

  • Google is fined by CCI Rs. 936.44 crore on provisional basis for necessary market correction
  • Google has been directed to desist from indulging in anti-competitive practices
  •    Google has been directed to allow app developers to use third party payment services

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google Rs. 936.44 crore for abusing its dominant position in its Play Store policies. The Commission has directed Google to establish a clear and transparent policy regarding data collected on its platform, platform use of such data, and potential and actual sharing of such data with app developers.

It was submitted before commission that, Google LLC is a Delaware (USA) limited liability company and Alphabet Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiary. Google LLC develops, provides, and manages Google’s core products and services, including Google Play and Android OS. Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Play, Android, Search, and YouTube are among Google’s core products and platforms.

In India, Google launched Tez, a UPI-based payment app, which was rebranded as Google Pay in 2018 to unify Google’s payment offerings globally under the ‘Google Pay’ brand. Google India has been appointed as a non-exclusive authorised reseller of online advertisement space in India provided by Google Asia Pacific Pte Ltd through the Google Ads programme to advertisers in India by Google Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Singapore (“Google Singapore”)

App stores are digital distribution platforms dedicated to allowing smart mobile device users to download, install, and manage a diverse range of apps from a single point in the smartphone’s interface. App stores have become a necessary medium for app developers to distribute their apps to end users. Google’s Play Store is the primary distribution channel for app developers in the Android mobile ecosystem, allowing its owners to profit from the apps that are released.

Google India is non-exclusive reseller of standardised Google enterprise products to Indian customers. and offers a limited set of information technology services to the group’s other overseas subsidiaries.

The Commission found glaring inconsistencies and broad disclaimers in Google’s presentation of various revenue data points.

Google’s Play Store policies require app developers to use Google Play’s Billing System (GPBS) exclusively and mandatorily, so that all digital goods purchases are processed through Google’s payment system. If app developers do not follow Google’s policy of using GPBS, they will be denied the ability to list their apps on the Play Store, thereby missing out on a large pool of potential customers in the form of Android users.

 According to the Commission, Google Pay is integrated with intent flow methodology, whereas other UPI apps can be used with collect flow methodology. It was discovered that intent flow technology is superior to collect flow technology in terms of usability.

In India, the Commission found  Google to be dominant in the markets for licensable OS for smart mobile devices and app stores for Android smart mobile OS. Google has been found to be in violation of the Competition Regulations.

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