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CCI orders probe into Google's Play Store billing policies, says 'they violate competition law'

ISN Team
New Update
CCI orders probe into Google's Play Store billing policies

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has initiated a probe into Google's Play Store billing policies following complaints from Indian companies.

Several startups and companies had voiced concerns over Google's imposition of a service fee ranging from 11% to 30% on in-app purchases, a move they argue could unfairly impact their operational costs and market access.

The decision comes after Google delisted apps from several companies, including Info Edge and Matrimony, for policy violations, only to reinstate them later under government pressure.

What's the issue?


At the heart of the controversy is Google's billing policy, which mandates the use of its own payment systems for in-app purchases, thereby levying a significant commission.

Developers and critics argue this policy is not only unfair but also stifles competition by increasing operational costs for app developers, potentially driving them out of the market. The CCI's investigation aims to determine whether these practices violate competition laws by abusing Google's dominant market position.

What did Google say?

In response to the CCI's actions, a Google spokesperson stated that the company is reviewing the order and emphasized their commitment to complying with local laws and regulations.

Google has defended its service fees as necessary for the multitude of services it provides through the Play Store, including user security and platform maintenance. However, the CCI has previously found Google's practices to be anti-competitive, leading to the current investigation.

The legal landscape

The issue has also caught the attention of the Indian judiciary, with the Supreme Court set to hear the case.

Google's policies have been under scrutiny for potentially violating the Competition Act by imposing unfair prices and discriminating between digital and physical services. The investigation by the CCI's Director General, expected to conclude within 60 days, will provide further clarity on these allegations.