The uprising against Google comes against a backdrop of renewed doubt raised by various global governments and opinion makers on the impact of the dominance of the ‘Big 5’ tech firms, including Google.
According to the statement issued by the Competition Commission of India, the Commission is of the prima facie view that the party involved has contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act.
“THESE ASPECTS WARRANT A DETAILED INVESTIGATION. THE COMMISSION IS OF THE PRIMA FACIE VIEW THAT SAID CONDUCT OF GOOGLE AMOUNTS TO IMPOSITION OF UNFAIR AND DISCRIMINATORY CONDITION, DENIAL OF MARKET ACCESS FOR COMPETING APPS OF GOOGLE PAY AND LEVERAGING ON THE PART OF GOOGLE, IN TERMS OF DIFFERENT PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4(2) OF THE ACT,” IT ADDED FURTHER.
Section 4 of the Competition Act pertains to abuse of dominant market position.
The Director General has been directed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to finish the probe and submit the report in 60 days.
Paytm, along with several other Indian start-ups, have been rallying against Google’s requirement that apps use the Play Store’s billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods and pay a 30% transaction fee.
Google payment system
On the other hand speaking about Google Pay’s payment system the Commission in its order report noted, it is of the prima facie view that mandatory use of application store’s payment systems for paid apps and in-app purchases restricts the choice available to the app developers, especially considering when Google charges a commission of 30% (15% in certain cases) for most app purchases. It added that such ‘allegedly’ high fees would increase the cost of Google’s competitors.
Similarly, on the issue of pre-installation and prominence of Google Pay on Android Smartphones, the Commission agreed with the contention of the informant and said that it was prima facie that the alleged conduct on the part of Google merits detailed investigation.
The US Justice Division introduced an antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that both advertisers and individuals are harmed by the tech giant’s position as “the unchallenged gateway to the Web for billions of customer’s worldwide.”
As pressure mounted on the competitive landscape as regards questions on data privacy, the Senate Commerce Committee, earlier this week grilled the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google over proposed modifications to Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
US Regulatory hurdles
Addressing the regulatory considerations, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai mentioned that there may be suggestions or rulings with which the corporation can be versatile and adapt.
Pichai additionally addressed the problems flagged within the lawsuit filed by the DOJ which alleged that Google uses its dominance in on-line search options and promotions to kill off competitors and hurt shoppers.
Pichai also mentioned that his intention was to make Google’s companies accessible to everybody. The DOJ lawsuit has additionally brought into focus Google’s partnership with different corporations.
How the ‘Big 5’ will respond going forward remains to be seen as the time comes for them to behave responsibly, setting new standards by talking to global innovation leaders, stakeholders and society at large.
This article first appeared in the NFA Post and is republished with permission.