Tuesday, 10 November 2020 12:14

Indian competition watchdog to probe Google for anti-competitive acts

Indian competition watchdog to probe Google for anti-competitive acts Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Indian competition watchdog, the Competition Commission of India, has asked its director-general to investigate whether Google is indulging in anti-competitive practices through its pay service, Google Pay.

The CCI released a 39-page order on Monday, listing the allegations made by an anonymous informant, against Alphabet, Google, Google Ireland, Google India and Google India Digital Services.

The informant alleged that Google, was using its control of the PlayStore and Android to favour Google Pay over competing apps.

Google Pay is one of four payment services operating in India, with the other being the Softbank- and Alibaba-backed Paytm, Walmart’s PhonePe and WhatsApp, which was given approval last week to open a service for a maximum of 20 million people initially.

Google Pay's dominant position was reinforced by the 95% share held by Android, the informant said, adding that due to the close interplay between the various Google apps, the company had established itself as a critical platform for users.

"Due to Google’s dominance in the markets for the licensing of mobile OS and app stores for Android OS, Google has become the de facto gateway to Android smartphones," the complaint alleged.

The informant also claimed that apart from Google PlayStore’s billing system favouring the Google Pay app, in-app purchases for apps downloaded through PlayStore also had no choice but to support the Google Pay service if they wanted to be listed on the PlayStore.

The CCI said Google appeared to have contravened various sections of the Competition Act and asked the director-general of the CCI to report back within 60 days.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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