Google faces antitrust case in India

Plaint says it promotes payments app in its Android store, giving it unfair edge

Updated - May 28, 2020 12:46 pm IST

Published - May 27, 2020 10:51 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Google’s faces third major antitrust challenge in India.

Google’s faces third major antitrust challenge in India.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into allegations that Alphabet Inc’s Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in the country, five sources familiar with the case told Reuters .

The complaint was filed in February and the CCI has kept the identity of the complainant confidential, the first source with direct knowledge of the case said.

The complaint alleges the U.S. tech giant more prominently showcases its Google Pay app inside its Android app store in India, giving it an unfair advantage over apps of competitors, which hurts consumers, the source added.

Google did not respond to a request for comment. Two of the sources said the watchdog informed Google about the case being filed a few days ago and the company is expected to respond in due course.

Allegation under review

A source said the case filing is currently being reviewed by senior CCI members. Typically, in such cases, Google will appear before the watchdog, which will then decide on the way forward.

The CCI can direct its investigations unit to conduct a wider probe into the allegations, or dismiss the case if it finds no merit in it.

“It is at a consideration stage,” the source said.

The Commission did not respond to a request for comment.

This is Google’s third major antitrust challenge in India. In 2018, the CCI fined Google $21 million for “search bias” , but a company appeal against that is pending. Last year, the CCI also started probing Google for allegedly misusing its dominant position to reduce the ability of smartphone manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system.

Google Pay allows users in India to do inter-bank fund transfers and bill payments. It competes with apps such as Softbank-backed Paytm and Walmart’s PhonePe in India’s crowded digital payments market, where Facebook’s WhatsApp is also planning a similar service.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.