Google Pay has been receiving a lot of criticism for the past few weeks owing to the ill-functioning of the digital wallet platform.
Now the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a detailed probe against internet giant Google for alleged unfair business practices used by Google Pay.
Director General (DG) of CCI has ordered a detailed probe or alleged anti-competitive practices concerning Google Pay. Citing Section 4 of the Competition Act about the abuse of dominant market position, he said that CCI 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 regulator’s investigation follows complaints by Indian startups against Google’s policy, requiring apps to mandatorily use Google’s payment tools for selling services through the Play Store. The antitrust probe will focus on Google’s alleged misuse of market dominance to promote Google Pay. One of the aspects of this case is majorly against Google Pay and its infinite presence in the Android ecosystem.
According to the regulator, it is of “the prima facie view that said the 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.” The probe has been ordered against five entities — Alphabet Inc., Google LLC, Google Ireland Ltd, Google India Pvt Ltd, and Google India Digital Services Pvt Ltd.
Over 150 Indian app developers including Paytm have raised concerns over Google’s plan to charge a 30 percent commission on paid apps and In-App Purchases (IAPs). Many local developers have also come forward to say that the tech giant cannot force domestic app developers/ owners to sell digital services by compulsory use of its billing system.
Google said in a statement, “We are pleased that the CCI has rejected several claims made by the anonymous complainant. On the remaining concerns, first, we are 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 payment experience.” It further read, “The numerous distribution channels exist for apps on the Android platform; Play is not the only app distribution option for Android. Users choose Google Play because we ensure a safe, secure, and seamless experience.
Play’s billing system is a fundamental part of meeting this user expectation and helps ensure our continued investment in the many important things needed to make developers successful.”
It is important to note that although the probe centres around Google Pay, its conclusion is bound to impact how the company will enforce its Play Store rules in India.
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