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    Google Under CCI Lens Yet Again: Here Is What You Need To Know

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    Competition Commission of India seeks investigation into a case against Google. Apparently, Google has abused its dominant position in the market.

    By Yeti - 
    9th Nov 2020
    Google Pay

    Highlights of the Story

    • CCI is investigating two counts against Google
    • CCI has the power to break off Google Pay from Google
    • Google has received a ton of criticism from PayTM, Razorpay and other companies

    Moreover, the complainant has actually made six allegations against Google. However, the CCI has chosen to investigate the case on only two of those six counts.

    The first count is that the company’s policy requires app makers to use its own tools for content and services sold via the app store. The second count is the fact that Google Pay is a default app to be installed on Android smartphones. Moreover, CCI stated that the complainant was not able to provide with enough evidence on the other four counts. This led them to immediately dismiss the other four for investigation.

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    The two counts which the CCI is investigating are ‘Exclusivity Regarding Mode of Payment for Purchase of Apps and In-App Purchases (IAPS)’ and ‘Pre-installation and prominence of Google Pay on Android Smartphones’. The four other counts were:

    1. “Search manipulation and Bias by Google in favour of Google Pay”
    2. “Prominent placement of Google Pay on the Play Store”
    3. “Search advertisement manipulation on the Play Store”
    4. “Exclusivity Requirement Imposed by Google Resulted in Unfair Terms Being Imposed on Users”

    Google Vs Indian Startups

    Indian startups founders pointed out certain things against Google’s policy. This policy requires apps to use its own payment tools for selling services and content through the Play Store. Although the complaint primarily revolved around Google Pay, it will have an impact on the company’s policies in India. Google might have to change the way it enforces its policies in the country for smoother functioning.

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    Given that CCI rules against the tech giant, Indian startups could have a major upper hand in this. Startup founders like PayTM’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Razorpay’s Harshil Mathur and many more have criticized the company. The company’s policy which makes it mandatory for app makers to use its own payment tools for purchases made through the Play Store seems impractical and irrational to many. Moreover, it shows how much the company has dominated the Play Store over the years.

    What More?

    Kanika Chaudhary Nayar, Partner at L&L Partners, explained that in dominance cases the CCI has the power to penalize Google on the average of its “relevant” turnover for the last three years. Moreover, this case is similar to the Rs. 135.86 crore fine imposed on the company back in 2018. That case also involved Google abusing its dominance but, in Search.

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    Furthermore, Nayar also states that the CCI theoretically also has the power to break apart Google Pay from Google. However, the CCI has never used this power in India. This comes as a surprise as the law has been in existence in the country for 11 years. Additionally, CCI also has the ability to issue a cease and desist order. CCI could issue this in addition to asking the company for paying a compensation or penalty.

    Google being under CCI lens is not a shock. It has happened before as well. However, it is hard to say where this case will go. Only time will tell how this ultimately turns out for Google.



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