In its latest order, Competition Commission of India (CCI) asked Google to “cease and desist” from practicing policies that supposedly give it powers to abuse its dominant position in running Play Store, which houses millions of apps that Android phone customers can download. “… practices followed by Google result in leveraging its dominance in market for licensable mobile OS (operating system) and app stores for Android OS, to protect its position in the downstream markets,” CCI said.
A spokesperson for Google did not comment on the matter. It is believed that the company is considering legal challenge against the developments that it sees as averse to its current business practices.
CCI said Play Store policies require app developers to “exclusively and mandatorily” use Google Play’s Billing System (GPBS) not only for receiving payments for apps (and other digital products like audio, video, games) distributed/sold through the Google Play Store but also for certain in-app purchases i.e. purchases made by users of Apps after they have downloaded/purchased the app from the Play Store.
Further, the app developers cannot, within an app, provide users with a direct link to a webpage containing an alternative payment method or use language that encourages a user to purchase the digital item outside of the app.
If the app developers do not comply with Google’s policy of using GPBS, they are not permitted to list their apps on the Play Store and thus would lose out on vast pool of potential customers in the form of Android users.
Google was also found to be following discriminatory practices by not using GPBS for YouTube, which is its own application.