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NCLAT order in CCI-Google case a cautionary message to all platforms: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

IANS | March 29, 2023 05:06 PM

NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Wednesday said the decision by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in the Google-Competition Commission of India (CCI) case is "a cautionary message to all platforms and companies".

The NCLAT said that Google will have to pay the fine of Rs 1, 337.76 crore, imposed on it by the CCI in October last year for anti-competitive practices in relation to Android mobile devices.

"This important judgement is a cautionary message to all platforms and companies, " Chandrasekhar said in a tweet.

"India's Digital Nagrik rights must be respected and any anti-competitive or anti-consumer practices will be a violation of the Indian competition law, " the minister stressed.

In January, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the NCLAT decision, declining to stay operation of the CCI order imposing Rs 1, 337.76 crore fine on Google.

The CCI had also imposed a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on Google in a separate case for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) has also repeatedly claimed that Google is blatantly disobeying the CCI orders in India, charging app developers an exorbitant 11-26 per cent commission.

According to the startup policy think tank, contrary to the CCI orders of not imposing any unfair, discriminatory or disproportionate price-related condition on Indian app developers for in-app purchases and subscriptions, Google has shared that it would be charging 15-30 per cent and an 11-26 per cent commission fee on developers using its Google Play Billing System (GBPS) and User Choice Billing (UCB) system respectively from April 26, 2023.

"Google has deliberately chosen its 11-26 per cent fee so as to make the choice of employing alternative payment solutions by app developers through UCB economically unattractive for app developers, as such developers would still have to pay those third parties payment processing fees, which, when added to Google's 11-26 per cent, could meet or exceed the 15-30 per cent GBPS fee they pay today, " the ADIF elaborated.

GPBS is a payment method only, and the tech giant is charging such exorbitant commission without providing any additional service.

"India has set global benchmarks in digital payment and the entire payment industry is working on 1-5 per cent service fees. Google is demanding such exorbitant commission, owing to its abusive dominance in the Android-based app store market, " it added.

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