Competition Commission clears Google buying 7.7 pc stake in Jio

In July, it was announced that Google has agreed to invest Rs 33,737 crore to buy a 7.7 percent stake in the Reliance Industries' technology venture.
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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday said it has approved internet major Google's proposed purchase of 7.73 percent stake in Jio Platforms.

In July, it was announced that Google has agreed to invest Rs 33,737 crore to buy a 7.7 percent stake in the Reliance Industries' technology venture.

"Commission approves acquisition of 7.73 percent equity share capital of Jio Platforms by Google," the watchdog said in a tweet.

Deals beyond a certain threshold require approval from the CCI, which keeps a tab on unfair business practices across sectors.

Earlier this week, CCI ordered a detailed probe against internet giant Google for alleged unfair business practices with respect to Google Pay as well as Google Play's payment system.

Google Pay is a popular digital payments platform while Google Play is the app store on its Android ecosystem.

"... the Commission is of the prima facie view that the Opposite Parties have contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act... These aspects warrant a detailed investigation," it said in a 39-page order.

The watchdog has ordered a detailed probe by its Director General (DG), which is the investigation arm, for alleged anti-competitive practices with respect to Google Pay.

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Section 4 of the Competition Act pertains to abuse of dominant market position.

The Commission is of the prima facie view that the market for apps facilitating payment through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) appears to be a distinct relevant market for the assessment of allegations in the present matter, the order said.

According to the regulator, it is of "the prima facie view that said conduct of Google amounts to imposition of unfair and discriminatory condition, denial of market access for competing apps of Google Pay and leveraging on the part of Google, in terms of different provisions of Section 4(2) of the Act."

Indian app developers have been voicing concerns over Google's move to charge 30 percent commission on paid apps and In-App Purchases (IAPs). Many such developers have said that Google cannot force domestic app developers/owners to sell digital services by compulsory use of its billing system.

"We are pleased that the CCI has rejected several claims made by the anonymous complainant," a Google spokesperson said in a late evening statement.

On the remaining concerns, the spokesperson said it was confident that the CCI will find that GPay operates in an extremely competitive environment, and owes its success to its ability to offer consumers a simple and secure payments experience.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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