CCI fines Google Rs 936.44Cr for anti-competitive Play Store policies
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore onfor abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies. The regulator also issued a cease-and-desist order.
The statutory body has directed the search giant to modify its conduct within a defined timeline.
The competition regulator’s penalty comes just days after it fined the tech firm Rs 1,337.76 crore for anti-competitive practices with respect to licensing of its Android Operating System (OS) and proprietary mobile applications such as Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube, and others.
CCI said it found Google to be dominant in the markets for licensable OS for smart mobile devices and market for app stores for Android smart mobile OS, in India.
Google controls its app marketplace and its policies require app developers to exclusively and mandatorily use its billing system not only for receiving payments for apps and other digital products distributed through the Google Play Store but also for certain in-app purchases.
Moreover, the policies do not allow app developers to provide users with a direct link within an app to a webpage containing an alternative payment method.
India is one of the leading downloaders of apps and games in the world and Google Play is the main mobile app distribution channel on smart devices running Android OS, with most downloads of Android apps occurring through Google’s app store.
In India, Alphabet’s Google has come under scrutiny by the CCI for its app store payment structure. Globally, both Google and Apple have come under the regulatory radar for collecting a 15% to 30% service fee for in-app purchases.
According to CCI, Google “shall allow, and not restrict app developers from using any third-party billing/payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing apps.”
It further stated that the tech giant “shall not impose any Anti-steering Provisions on app developers and shall not restrict them from communicating with their users to promote their apps and offerings, in any manner.”
Google has been given a time of 30 days to provide the requisite financial details and supporting documents.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti