The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) on Wednesday hailed the action taken by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Google for unfair use of its dominant position with respect to Play Store policies, especially in regard to In-app payment systems.
As Google’s unfair practices in regards to In-app purchases and subscription fees are established through the CCI verdict, the lasting way out is to have a legislative frame to restrain such practices of excessive charging by the App Aggregators platforms, it said.
An ADIF spokesperson said that this payments decision, along with the Android app bundling decision by the CCI last week, will set a new precedent globally against the anti-trust practices followed by any dominant tech organisation in India.
ADIF, an over 500-member alliance working relentlessly for easing the operating ecosystem for startups, said that there is a strong need to back the CCI decision with appropriate legislation, so as to stop App Aggregator platforms from charging excessively from App developers.
“A price regulatory authority and framework in Digital India Act or Competition Act, in line with DMA act in the UK for digital markets may be the imminent step in the right direction, which would help in restraining such anti-competitive practices by Significant IT intermediary organisations,” said the organisation.
Charging to the tune of 30 per cent for payment services is excessive by any means and the CCI noted that mandatory imposition of GPBS (Google Play Billing System) limits technical advancement in the market for in-app payment processing services because it disturbs the incentives for innovation and the capacity of payment processors and app developers to innovate and build new technologies.
“Also, other than payment processing services, Google play store does not provide any additional service which justifies the imposition of its supra-competitive fees, hence their commission of 15 per cent or 30 per cent is without any commercial justification,” it added.
There is a strong need to stop this abusive practice, and as has been established by CCI of this unfair practice, there needs a legislative framework to restrict the In-app payment charges in line with PG charges (up to 3 per cent).
“The time is ripe to replicate the same for the app developers also, as this would usher a new paradigm in the Start-up space in India, with consumers getting innovative app-based solutions for their professional and business needs,” said the ADIF.
The CCI fined Google Rs 936.44 crore on October 25 for abusing its dominant position with regard to its Play Store Billing and payment policy, a few days after the regulator slapped a fine of Rs 1,338 crore for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets with its Android mobile operating system (OS), may be considered as the resilient footing to set up the legislative framework.