CCI initiates case against Google for imposing discriminatory terms in its payment policy

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), in an information filed by Indian apps developers & their industry associations, alleging imposition of discriminatory and unfair terms and service fees/commission for processing payments for paid app downloads & in-app purchases, has prima facie held Google to be violating Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act). Pursuant to the CCI’s Order in 2022, Google updated its billing policy & allowed the app developers to adopt Alternate Billing System (ABS) instead of Google’s proprietary Google Play Billing System (GPBS). However, the service fees/commission charge while using ABS –11% & 26% in comparison to 15% & 30% when using GPBS has no rationale as per CCI, especially, in view of Google’s own submission that it does not require more than 6% of the revenue share to break even on the services provided by Google. The readers may recall that earlier also CCI had initiated a case against Google under Section 42 of the Act for contravening with its 2022 Order.