Google ordered CCI to authorize third-party payments and adopt 8 solutions in 3 months

Alphabet’s Google should not stop app developers from using third-party billing or payment processing services in India, the country’s antitrust body said on Tuesday, imposing a fine of $113 million (about 932 crore rupees) to the American giant for anti-competitive practices.

India’s Competition Commission (CCI) said Google was using its “dominant position” to force app developers to use its in-app payment system, noting that selling in-app digital goods is a key way for developers to monetize their work.

The ICC ruling is the latest setback for Google in one of its priority markets, where it was fined an additional $162 million (about Rs 1,336 crore) by the watchdog on Thursday for anti-competitive practices related to its Android operating system, and it was asked to change its approach to its Android platform.

The American giant can appeal the orders in an Indian court.

In addition to the fine, Google was asked to adopt 8 operational remedies or adjustments within three months, including not preventing “app developers from using third-party billing/payment processing services, whether either for in-app purchases or for in-app purchases”. 199-page CCI order says.

Google should provide full transparency in communication with app developers and details of service fees charged, the TCC order added.

The order would be a major relief for Indian startups and small businesses that have long opposed Google’s policy of mandating the use of its own payment system for app developers.

The investigation into Google’s payment ecosystem was launched in 2020, after an antitrust case was filed against Google. The watchdog kept the complainant’s identity confidential at his request.

Naval Chopra, an antitrust partner at Indian law firm Shardul Amarchand who represented that plaintiff, told Reuters on Tuesday that CCI’s order will help ensure healthy competition and lower costs for app developers.

“The ICC order directing Google to allow alternative payment processing systems will remove the artificial barrier that Google had erected,” Chopra said, declining to release the name of the plaintiff for whom he filed the case.

The search engine giant is also facing a separate investigation into its business conduct in India’s smart TV market.

He had called Thursday’s CCI decision a “major setback for Indian consumers and businesses”, adding that he would review the order and decide on the next steps.

Google has come under fire around the world, including in South Korea, for forcing software developers using its app store to use a proprietary in-app payment system that charges commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases. Lately, Google has started allowing alternative payment systems in more countries.

Google’s Android operating system powers 97% of India’s 600 million smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research.

“Indian developers have benefited from the unparalleled technology, security, consumer protection, choice and flexibility that Android and Google Play offer. And, by keeping costs low, our model has propelled the India’s digital transformation and expanded access to hundreds of millions of Indians. We remain committed to our users and developers and are reviewing the decision to assess next steps,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. press release prepared.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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