India’s Antitrust Body Orders Investigation Into Google For ‘Unfairly’ Promoting Google Pay
India’s antitrust body investigates Google for using its dominant position and unfairly promoting its payment application ‘Google Pay’.
On Monday, November 10, India’s antitrust body, Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced an investigation into Google, alleging that the tech giant was ‘unfairly’ abusing the market to promote its payment application Google Pay. The Reuters report also suggests that Google was even forcing app developers to use the payment application in its in-app payment system. The CCI began their investigation back in May when a complaint was lodged alleging that Google was ‘hurting competition’ with unfair trade practices.
The CCI released a 39-page order, in which the agency explained Google’s agreements with several smartphone makers to have the Google Pay app pre-installed in the Android mobile devices. The agency opines that such agreements “disturb the level playing field” and should be investigated. The latest complaint was reportedly filed in February 2020. However, the CCI has kept its source anonymous.
Also, this isn’t the first time when the tech giant’s functioning was looked into by the antitrust body. Back in 2019, the CCI investigated a similar complaint wherein they checked if Google was abusing its market position to constrict smartphone makers from choosing other Android mobile operating systems except their own. Even in 2018, the tech giant was made to pay Rs 135.86 crores after it was found guilty of abusing its dominating position as a leading search engine.
Now, in the recent complaint, Google said that it was pleased that the antitrust body had rejected several allegations and have remained confident that the watchdog will find Google Pay to operate in an ‘extremely competitive environment’. In the order released by CCI, the agency has claimed that Google Play Store’s in-app billing system, forcing app developers to use it and pay a 30% commission, should be investigated.
The mandatory use of Google’s payment system “restricts the choice available to the app developers”, the CCI said in its order. Google’s statement said its billing system helps ensure its continued investment “in the many important things needed to make developers successful.”
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