Play Store pricing policy: Competition Commission orders probe against Google

    The Hawk
    March15/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Competition Commission orders investigation into Google's Play Store pricing policy, alleging anti-competitive practices affecting app developers, users, and payment processors.

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    New Delhi: The Competition Commission on Friday ordered a probe against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices with respect to its Play Store pricing policy.

    While passing the order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said the informants are primarily aggrieved with Google’s updated payment policies in relation to its proprietary app store -- Google Play Store -- which is alleged to be in violation of the competition law.

    It is also alleged that the payment policies are stated to be impacting several stakeholders, including app developers, payment processors, and users alike.

    The watchdog has ordered the probe after prima-facie finding that Google has violated Section 4 of the Competition Act that pertains to abuse of dominant position.

    In its 21-page order, the regulator noted that Google claims that a service fee is charged for a multitude of services provided by Play Store to app developers.

    If the service fee is for the services rendered to app developers, then the reasoning given by Google does not appear to be reasonable, the watchdog noted.

    Further, it said the issue assumes importance in view of the fact that various physical delivery apps are very large in size and yet do not contribute towards recoupment of Google's investment in Play Store (as claimed by Google).

    "Extending this further, it is not clear as to why consumption-only apps have been allowed relaxation when their content is consumed within the app. On the whole, the applicability of service fee seems to be arbitrary and discriminatory," the CCI said.