What you need to know
- Google is being investigated bu the Competition Commission of India over antitrust allegations.
- The company is being accused of unfairly privileging its Google Pay payment system in the Play Store over competitors.
- Google rejects this characterization, arguing that it neither has a monopoly on phones nor does is the Play Store the exclusive distribution area for smartphone apps in India.
- The CCI rejects Google's claims regarding being a monopoly and has opened an investigation into whether Google does favor its Google Pay app over competitors to the detriment of consumers.
An anonymous complaint has been lodged with the Competiton Commission of India(via Tech Crunch), accusing Google of antitrust violations in its handling of Android, the Play Store, and Google Pay (formerly known as Tez in India).
From the CCI's press release, the complaint has three main points
Google counters these arguments, noting that it doesn't even qualify as a monopoly. It argued that it heavy competition from feature phones in India. It also notes that even when Android is invoiced, OEMs in India often pre-load rival app stores. Even when they don't, Google notes that 40% of app downloads in India don't happen on the Play Store. Google also noted that it doesn't grant unmerited prominence or favor in rankings to its own Gooogle apps, noting that it was in its own best interest to ensure that users had the best experience.
The Commission didn't agree with some of Google's statements, deeming it a dominant force as far as market share for licensable smartphone operating systems and app stores go.
When it comes to Google Pay and Google Play, the Commission will be opening an investigation into whether Google is actually skewing the search results or not, as well as if the Google Play Store billing system unfairly disadvantages rival apps.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Google reiterated many of the counter-arguments it made to the watchdog, saying:
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