India’s competition watchdog is in the final stages of wrapping up its investigation into search giant Google over its Play Store policies, The Economic Times reported, citing sources.
In 2020, Google enforced a 30% commission for all Play Store transactions, which was heavily criticised by stakeholders globally and in India where it was seen as monopolistic and stifling competition. The CCI began probing the commissions angle and whether Google was blocking rival payment options in its billing process.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been holding depositions from stakeholders such as the Alliance of Digital India Federation (ADIF), Match Group (owner of Tinder) and several other app companies in India.
CCI has also sought information from Google and calling its executives for depositions.
The sources added that CCI had asked for final submissions from all stakeholders at a recent hearing, which was likely its last before a verdict.
“Parties have been given time to make final submissions. Google wanted to postpone…but the (CCI) Chairman was not having any of that. The CCI was pretty emphatic that they're moving towards the final conclusion,”
a person aware of the development told ET on condition of anonymity.
The company said last week that it was launching the next phase of its user choice billing pilot project, with India being among the markets where users can avail of the service. As per the announcement, all non-gaming developers can sign up to participate in the pilot and offer choice billing to users.
Google’s new commission structure will be applicable from October 31 in India. It has also come into force globally from June. According to ET, CCI wants to release the final report before Google’s policy becomes applicable in October.
A source also told ET that the antitrust regulator has thoroughly examined recent cases with IT giants in South Korea and the Netherlands. South Korea barred "the act of forcing a specific payment method to a provider of mobile content" while the Netherlands had fined Apple $55 million for failing to satisfy its order to allow dating apps to use alternative payment formats.
Source: The Economic Times