CCI to probe Google amid dispute with Indian companies over in-app billing policy

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India's antitrust body on Friday ordered an investigation into Alphabet Inc. Google in an ongoing dispute with local startups over its in-app billing system, saying the US company implemented its policies in a “discriminatory manner.”

Indian startups have been at loggerheads with Google for months over the fee it charges for in-app payments.

The dispute escalated earlier this month after Google removed more than 100 Indian apps from its app store for billing violations, although it reinstated them after the Indian government intervened.

The startups had petitioned the Competition Commission of India (ICC) to investigate the matter and the watchdog on Friday ordered an investigation, saying: “Google is implementing its policies in a discriminatory manner.”

The CCI also directed its investigation unit to complete the probe within 60 days.

“We are reviewing CCI's order to initiate the investigation,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed response to Reuters, adding that the company will cooperate with the process “in every way.”

The dispute centers on efforts by some Indian startups to block Google from imposing an 11% to 26% fee on in-app payments, after the country's antitrust authorities ordered it to dismantle a 15% charging system. % to 30% in 2022.

Google denies any wrongdoing and says it collects the fee to support investments in the Google Play app store and the Android mobile operating system, making sure to distribute it for free.

The CCI has already been investigating complaints from startups for months that Google is not following the previous antitrust directive that prevents it from taking adverse action against companies that use alternative billing systems.

© Thomson Reuters 2024


(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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