Google Withdraws Appeal to CCI in UCB System Case

Google Withdraws Appeal to CCI in UCB System Case
Photo: unsplash.com 08.12.2023 335

This decision by Google may indicate a recognition of problems with the company's new user choice billing system in India that has caused concern for local developers.

Google on Thursday withdrew its appeal against the order of a single judge of the Delhi high court asking the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to hear applications moved by Indian startups against Google’s user choice billing system.

Google’s senior advocate, Sajan Poovayya, communicated the decision to withdraw the appeal, citing the timing of the original order during a period when the CCI faced challenges related to quorum. With the subsequent restoration of quorum, Google has chosen to step back from its legal appeal, leaving room for potential future considerations.

In May 2023, CCI said that it needs to inquire into Google’s new users’ choice billing policy and check whether the company has complied with its October 2022 order asking the company not to restrict app developers from using third-party billing system.

In April, in a plea by a group of Indian startups, the Delhi high court asked the CCI to hear applications moved against Google’s user choice billing system.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), had moved court seeking CCI to urgently investigate Google’s user choice billing system (UCB) as it violates the CCI’s October 25, 2022, order.

It should be recalled that in October 2022 CCI ordered Google to pay a fine of 9.36 billion rupees ($113.5 million) for abusing its dominant position in the PlayStore and allowing Android app developers to use third-party billing systems for app and in-app purchases.

ADIF’s petition sought a directive to the CCI to invoke the “doctrine of necessity” (extraordinary actions by administrative authority) to investigate Google’s alleged violation of the regulator’s guidelines and pass an order as CCI does not have the quorum to adjudicate anti-trust cases. It also sought a stay on Google’s implementation of the UCB till the investigation was over.

Google's decision to withdraw the appeal may indicate a acknowledgment of CCI compliance issues, as well as a recognition of the shortcomings of the new payment system, which Indian startups and local app developers deem burdensome and potentially anti-competitive.

Source:  Financial Express

digital markets  India 

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