Google filed a writ in Karnataka HC against CCI’s probe into Play Store rules

CCI has been looking into allegations that Google charges app developers a high fee for in-app sales and premium applications.

Google filed writ in Karnataka HC on Monday, asking for extra time to reply to the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) questions about the usage of Google’s Play Store payment mechanism for in-app purchases and premium applications.

Furthermore, one of the reasons for requesting extra time is that Google has extended the deadline for developers to connect with the Play store’s invoicing system until October 31, 2022.

“We have filed a writ in the Karnataka High Court about the interim relief motion in the Google Play inquiry by the CCI, requesting to move ahead in accordance with recognized due process norms,” a Google representative said in a statement. We appreciate the CCI’s investigative process and will continue to work with them in a cooperative and productive manner in the interest of a fair inquiry.”

According to reports, the corporation has requested that the name of the complaint be revealed, as well as the nomination of a judicial member to the panel, in order to fully reply to the inquiries. “We appreciate the particular demands of the developer ecosystem in India and remain dedicated to engaging with developers in India on their development path,” the firm stated after extending the deadline to comply with the changes in the Play Store payment mechanism.

We set a deadline of 31st March 2022 for developers in India to connect with Play’s billing system in October 2020. We’re extending it until October 31, 2022, to provide Indian developers the product support they need for recurring payments through convenient user payment systems like UPI and wallets, as well as extra time in light of revisions to India’s recurring digital payments requirements.” On October 6, the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) filed a petition with the CCI seeking interim relief from Google’s modified payment mechanism.

Google filed writ in Karnataka

Meanwhile, ADIF characterized Google’s writ suit as another another delaying tactic and an effort to stymie the antitrust inquiry. “Throughout this whole antitrust process, Google’s only constant pledges have been to a) prolong the process in any manner necessary and b) safeguard its huge profits from the app economy (by exploiting its dominance).” “We urge Google to follow the antitrust procedure in good faith and in accordance with the CCI’s orders,” said ADIF executive director Sijo Kuruvilla George.

Additionally, in 2020, the CCI launched an investigation of the Play Store’s payment method. It has requested Google to answer to its inquiries by November 19, 2021 as part of the investigation. The internet behemoth then requested an eight-week response period. Since then, Indian unicorns and start-ups have claimed that Google is abusing its monopoly, enforcing the billing system, and taking a 30% transaction fee. All Google Play Store applications that sell digital products via in-app purchases must utilize Google Play’s billing system. 

Finally, Developers in numerous countries have criticized Google and Apple Stores for their business methods on their own app stores. Google said in October that, beginning January 1, 2022, it would reduce the service cost for all subscriptions on Google Play to 15% from 30%, resulting in a 50% reduction in first-year subscription rates for developers providing subscriptions.

  • 2020: Google states that applications that sell digital items on the Play Store must utilize its billing systems, which carry a 30% fee.
  • CCI gets an anonymous Google complaint; In November 2020, the CCI launches an inquiry against Google.
  • March 2021: When developers earn their first $1 million in yearly income, Google reduces their charge by 15% internationally.
  • Oct 2021: ADIF requests an interim injunction against Google’s implementation of the new payment requirements with the CCI.
  • The timeframe for adopting the new policy in India has been extended by Google until March 31, 2022.
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