India’s competition regulator has fined Google 9bn rupees ($113m; £98m) for anti-competitive practices, in a second such penalty in less than a week.
The regulator accused Google of “abusing” its dominant position on the app store to force app developers to use its in-app payment system.
It asked the tech giant to not restrict app developers from using third-party billing or payment services.
Google said it was reviewing the allegations.
“By keeping costs low, our model has powered India’s digital transformation and expanded access for hundreds of millions of Indians,” a Google spokesperson told the BBC.
“We remain committed to our users and developers and are reviewing the decision to evaluate the next steps,” the spokesperson added.
In a 199-page order released on Tuesday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that Google was implementing certain policies on its Play Store that required app developers to “exclusively” use its payments system for distributing or selling apps and in-app services.
The regulator asked Google to adopt eight remedies or operations adjustments within three months, including not restricting “app developers from using any third-party billing/payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing apps”, according to Reuters.
“Google should ensure complete transparency in communicating with app developers and details about service fees charged,” the CCI added.
The order is the latest setback for Google, which is facing a series of anti-trust allegations in India.
Last week, the company was fined 13bn rupees ($161m; £144m) for using its Android platform to dominate the market.
The CCI said the tech giant was entering into forced agreements with players in the space to ensure that its bouquet of apps – such as Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps and others – were used.
The Android-related inquiry was started in 2019, following complaints by consumers of Android smartphones. The case is similar to the one Google faced in Europe, where regulators imposed a $5bn fine on the company for using its Android operating system to gain an unfair advantage in the market.
Google had called CCI’s decision “a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses,” adding that it would review the order and decide on the next steps.
( curtesy BBC)