Indian competition watchdog’s action stops Google from imposing its billing system on developers

The tech giant has been fined for manipulating its dominant position in the market to dictate terms for in-app purchases.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, November 01, 2022, 04:56 PM IST
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Google to review fine of Rs 1,338 by CCI for anti-competitive practices. | File

Google has been facing legal tussles in different parts of the world, including two cases in the UK and Netherlands, where it may have to pay $25 billion for unfair adtech practices. The competition watchdog in UK is also probing Google and Apple’s duopoly in the mobile operating system and app store space. After being slapped with a Rs 2,273 crore penalty for abusing its dominant position in the market to impose a billing system on app developers, Google has altered its plans.

Developers get to keep their freedom

The internet giant has allowed developers in the country to use alternate billing systems for purchases of digital goods and services for the time being. It has put its policy of making its own billing system mandatory for in-app transactions on hold, while it charts a future course of action. While it plans to challenge the fines, it hasn’t clarified if the policy now paused will be implemented later, or if the firm will use its Korea policy in India.

Korea did it before India

In South Korea, Google users get to choose which payment method they want to use at checkout, ever since a law barred the tech giant from imposing its billing mechanism. While it agreed to comply, Google warned users that they won’t get the same security and features such as parental control, family payments and subscription management, which its system offers. Later on South Korea passed another law barring app developers from redirecting users to their own billing systems. Now Google aims to remove apps which are indulging in such practices that limit the choice of the users.

Ensuring compliance

Going by the number of users, India is the largest market for Google, hence it’s not surprising that the firm was among the first to comply with norms including tokenisation, while others such as Netflix and Spotify asked for extension till the last moment. With the recent setbacks, Google is expected to comply with the local regulatory environment as well.

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