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India demands that Google pay a further $113 million fine

Google apparently used its “dominant position” to compel app developers to utilise its in-app payment mechanism, as reported by the Indian Competition Commission (CCI).

The Indian antitrust regulator decided on Tuesday saying Alphabet’s Google shouldn’t prevent app developers from utilising third-party bill or payment systems services in the nation while also fining the US company $113 million (approximately Rs. 932 crore) for anti-competitive behaviour.

The provision of in-app digital content is an important way for developers to monetise their work, based on the India’s Competition Commission (CCI), which claimed Google was using its “dominant position” to force developers to adopt its in-app payment system.

The CCI’s response is the latest recent setback for Google within one of its priority markets. On Thursday, the watchdog fined the company a further $162 million (roughly Rs. 1,336 crore) for engaging in anti-competitive behavior is related to its Android operating system and demanded that it change its approach for the Android platform.

The US giant would appeal the decision in an Indian court. The 199-page CCI order specified that in addition to pay the fine, Google was ordered to implement 8 other corrective measures or process activities inside three months, such as not precluding “application developers to use any third-party industry is based payment processing services, whether for in-app purchase decisions or for purchasing apps.”

The CCI order added said that Google must maintain total transparency in dealing to app developers and providing information on service fees. The development would be a great relief to Indian startups or smaller businesses that have long opposed Google’s policy of making app developers to use its own payment system.

In the launch of an antitrust suit against Google, the investigation into the Google payment ecosystem was launched in 2020. On the complainant’s request, the watchdog maintained the complainant’s identity.

That complainant is represented as Naval Chopra, a antitrust director of India’s Shardul Amarchand legal firm. Chopra told Reuters on Tuesday that CCI’s judgement will promote healthy competition and lower costs for app developers. Chopra, who declined to give the names of a complainant for whom he had brought the case stated that “the CCI judgement instructing Google to accept alternate payment processing platforms will eliminate this same artificial barrier which Google had erected.”

The world’s largest search engine is also under investigation for its operations with in Indian smart TV industry.

It described CCI’s decision on Thursday a “a big setback to Indian customers and businesses” and said it will analyse the order before determining the next step in the process.

Google has been criticized for forcing software developers to use its app store to adopt its proprietary in-app payment method which imposes commissions of up to 30% on payments made within an app, even in South Korea. Google has recently begun to accept alternative payment methods in more countries.

According to Counterpoint Research, 97 percent on India’s 600 million cellphones run on Android operating system.

“The technologies, security, consumer protections, unmatched choice, the flexibility which Android and Google Play provide have been beneficial to Indian developers. Additionally, our methodology has enabled India’s digital transformation that increased access to hundreds of millions of Indians while keeping costs low. We are still dedicated towards our users and programmers or are assessing the choice to determine the best course of action “In a prepared statement, a Google spokesperson stated.

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