Indian government plans action against Google over antitrust violations

Indian government plans action against Google over antitrust violations

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union deputy minister for information technology, pressed serious concerns and emphasised that the government would not ignore these findings and would undertake appropriate measures against Google.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, May 22, 2023, 09:46 AM IST
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Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union deputy minister for information technology | Twitter

India's government intends to take action against Alphabet Inc's Google following an antitrust watchdog's findings of the company's abuse of its market position and engagement in anti-competitive practices. In October of last year, India's antitrust body fined Google $275 million in two separate cases that involved the exploitation of its dominant position in the Android operating system market and the coercion of developers to use its in-app payment system, stated a Reuters report.

The report quoted Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union deputy minister for information technology, pressing serious concerns and emphasising that the government would not ignore these findings and would undertake appropriate measures against Google.

While Chandrasekhar did not specify the exact nature of the policy or regulatory action that may be taken, he affirmed that it would be revealed in the coming weeks, emphasizing that the government would not brush the issue aside.

Worries for India's Digital Ecosystem

Chandrasekhar, a high-ranking official in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration, acknowledged that the findings were not only worrisome for the government but also for the entire digital ecosystem in India. He underlined the gravity of the situation, indicating that the ministry had thoroughly considered the matter before deciding to take action.

Google has not yet responded to the minister's remarks, and Chandrasekhar stated that no discussions were necessary due to the court's ruling on the matter.

Google Faces Additional Scrutiny and Tension in India

Amidst growing tensions between Indian companies and Google, the competition watchdog in India has initiated another inquiry into the tech giant. Match Group, the owner of Tinder, along with several startups, alleged that Google's new service fee system for in-app payments violates the competition commission's decision from October.

In response to a legal challenge, an Indian tribunal confirmed the Competition Commission of India's findings of Google's anti-competitive conduct in the Android market, while the payments case is still under appeal.

Focus on Protecting India's Digital Economy

The government's actions extend beyond Google, as other companies such as Apple and Amazon also face potential cases of anti-competitive practices in India. Chandrasekhar stressed that the government is committed to safeguarding India's digital economy, ensuring that growth does not come at the expense of consumer choice or free competition.

He emphasized that measures would be taken to prevent any entity, including Google, from exploiting their market power or dominance. India, with approximately 97% of its 620 million smartphones operating on Android, is considered a crucial growth market for the company.

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