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CCI slaps second fine on Google

Competition Commission of India says tech major should not restrict developers from using third-party billing or payment processing services
Representational image.
Representational image.
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Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 26.10.22, 12:48 AM

India’s anti-trust body on Tuesday slapped a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on Alphabet Inc’s Google for abusing its dominant position while drawing up the policies for the use of Play Store services by app developers.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said the tech major should not restrict developers from using third-party billing or payment processing services.


This is the second major CCI ruling against Google in less than a week. On October 20, the watchdog imposed a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on the company for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in relation to Android mobile devices and ordered the internet major to cease and desist from various unfair business practices.

Google’s Play Store constitutes the main distribution channel for app developers in Android phones.

The regulator noted the mandatory usage of GPBS (Google Play’s Billing System) for paid apps and in-app purchases constitutes an imposition of an unfair condition on the developers.

The CCI said Google should not restrict developers from using any third-party billing/ payment processing services for purchasing apps. There was no immediate comment from Google on the latest CCI order. On October 21, Google said it will review the order with respect to the Android devices.

According to the release on Tuesday, Google has been asked to implement various measures, including allowing and not restricting developers from using third-party billing/ payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing apps.

“Google shall also not discriminate or otherwise take any adverse measures against such apps using third-party billing/ payment processing services, in any manner,” the release said.

Further, the internet major has been asked not to impose any anti-steering provisions on developers as well as not restrict them from communicating with their users to promote their apps and offerings, in any manner.

Google should not restrict end users, in any manner, to access and use within apps the features and services offered by the app developers, the release said.

According to the CCI, the company should set out a clear and transparent policy on data that is collected on its platform, the use of such data by the platform and also the potential and actual sharing of such data with app developers or other entities, including related entities.

Among other directions, the regulator has told Google that the competitively relevant transaction/ consumer data of apps generated and acquired through GPBS should not be leveraged by the company to its advantage.

“Google shall also provide access to the app developer of the data that has been generated through the concerned app, subject to adequate safeguards, as highlighted in this order,” the release said.

The CCI has asked the internet major not to impose any condition on app developers, which is unfair, unreasonable, discriminatory or disproportionate to the services provided to them.

Google should ensure complete transparency in communicating to the developers the services provided and the corresponding fees. It shall also publish in an unambiguous manner the payment policy.

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