CCI Probes Google Over In-App Billing, Indian Startups Allege Bias

India’s Competition Commission Orders Probe into Google’s In-App Billing Practices Amid Startup Dispute

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has initiated an investigation into Alphabet Inc’s Google over allegations of discriminatory in-app billing practices. The move comes amid a growing dispute between the tech giant and Indian startups.

For several months, Indian startups have been challenging Google’s policy on in-app payments, which involves a fee ranging from 11% to 26%. The contention intensified after Google removed over 100 Indian apps from its Play Store for not complying with its billing policies. These apps were later reinstated following intervention by the Indian government.

The startups turned to the CCI, urging the antitrust watchdog to examine Google’s practices. Responding to their concerns, the CCI has now ordered a probe, citing that “Google is implementing its policies in a discriminatory manner.” The investigation unit has been directed to report its findings within a 60-day period.

This development follows a previous directive by Indian antitrust authorities in 2022, instructing Google to dismantle its existing system that charged developers a fee of 15% to 30% for in-app payments. Despite this, startups allege that Google has not fully complied with the directive and continues to penalize companies opting for alternative billing systems.

Google, on the other hand, maintains its innocence, arguing that the fees are necessary to sustain investments in its Play Store and the Android operating system, which it offers for free.

The CCI’s ongoing scrutiny of Google’s policies reflects a broader global conversation on the fairness and competitiveness of app store practices. As the investigation proceeds, both the tech community and regulators will be closely monitoring the outcome, which could have significant implications for the app economy in India.

Google has yet to issue a comment on the CCI’s recent order for an investigation.

For more updates on this developing story, follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News.

In-app billing

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