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Battle Of Big Tech: Google Delists Indian Apps

In a seminal order passed by the CCI in 2022, Google was directed to pay Rs. 936 crore as fine for restricting app developers and for not allowing third party billing system. The appeal to the Supreme Court of India had also been dismissed. The ongoing issue has now reached the Supreme Court.

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In a significant development, tech giant Google delisted Indian applications which had not complied with its terms and conditions with respect to commissions.

In the year 2020, Google had imposed 30 per cent commission on app downloads and other purchases from an app through the Google Play Store.

Although Google, as a platform for listing of applications and supporting their downloads reserves the right to impose conditions, the same have been understood to be unfair for competition and Indian emerging startups.

The startups harbour the point of view, that the commission severely impedes their profitability thereby making it extremely difficult for them to compete in the market. Google Play Store serves as the main platform for downloading Android mobile applications.

Much recently, the Madras High Court was approached by several startups, challenging the pricing policy of Google. To the petitioners' dismay, the Madras High Court had dismissed their plea, which compelled them to approach the Supreme Court of India. The startups did not utilise the remedy of approaching the Competition Commision of India (CCI) as their complaint made to the anti-competition watchdog was not looked into.

In a seminal order passed by the CCI in 2022, Google was directed to pay Rs. 936 crore as fine for restricting app developers and for not allowing third party billing system. The appeal to the Supreme Court of India also came to be dismissed. The conclusion of the ongoing legal tussle will decide the contours of how big tech will be treated both judicially and legislatively.

The labyrinth of legal issues and basic precepts of competition in the digital age will have far reaching consequences for the consumer as well as the digital ecosystem.



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