India’s competition regulator on Tuesday fined Google £ 98 million for anti-competitive practices and abusing its “dominance” on its mobile app store, the second such fine in less than a week.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it found in its antitrust investigation that Google is using its dominance to force app developers to use its in-app payment system.
The antitrust body in its 199-page order asked Google to take eight remedies or adjustments to operations within three months.
The CCI ordered the US tech giant not to “restrict app developers from using third-party billing / payment processing services for in-app purchases or for app purchases.”
Google should ensure complete transparency in communicating with app developers and details on service fees charged, the CCI order says.
The search engine company, in a statement Wednesday, said it was “committed” to its users and developers and is reviewing its decision to consider next steps.
“Indian developers have benefited from the unrivaled technology, security, consumer protection and choice and flexibility provided by Android and Google Play,” said a Google spokesperson quoted by ANI news agency.
“By keeping costs down, our model has fueled India’s digital transformation and expanded access to hundreds of millions of Indians.”
The setback comes just days after the company was fined £ 139 for anti-competitive practices using its Android platform to dominate its market position.
The regulator had asked the company not to prevent smartphone users from uninstalling its pre-installed Google apps. He asked Google to “cease and desist” from unfair trading practices.
The company then called the decision a major setback for customers and businesses in India. Google’s operating system powers 97% of India’s 600 million smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research.
The tech giant is facing a number of antitrust cases and the tightening of existing regulations in the technology sector in India. Google’s payments ecosystem investigation began in 2020 after an antitrust lawsuit was filed against the company.
Naval Chopra, an antitrust partner of Indian law firm Shardul Amarchand, who represented the complainant, said the regulator’s order will help ensure healthy competition and reduce costs for app developers.
“The CCI’s order that Google to allow alternative payment processing systems will remove the artificial barrier that Google had erected,” Chopra told Reuters.