The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a another penalty of Rs 9.36 billion on Google for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies. Additionally, CCI has issued a cease-and-desist order in which the regulator prescribed eight corrective measures that Google Play needs to implement to correct the anticompetitive practices.
The recent penalty levied by CCI is in addition to the Rs 13.38 billion charges levied by the watchdog on October 20, 2022 for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets with its Android mobile operating system (OS), and prescribed a set of key measures that the company has to comply with.
Meanwhile, as per sources, CCI is in process of issuing orders against Google in at least two more cases.
The reason for such charges levied by CCI primarily pertains to a policy of Google Play store that requires app developers to exclusively use Google Play’s Billing System (GPBS) for all customer billings. This system has to be used not only for receiving payments from the apps but also for in-app purchases made by customers. Any App developer who doesn’t use GPBS is not allowed to list his product on the Google Play store. However, as per a press note by CCI, making access to the Play Store dependent on mandatory usage of GPBS for paid apps and in-app purchases is one-sided and arbitrary and devoid of any legitimate business interest. CCI further notes that the app developers are left bereft of the inherent choice to use payment processor of their liking from the open market.
To this end, CCI has directed Google not to abstain app developers from using any third party billing/payment processing services. In a release, the CCI noted that it has also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline.