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Google’s Payments App Faced Antitrust Case In India: Reuters

Google’s Payments App Faced Antitrust Case In India: Reuters
Allegations that the tech giant Alphabet Inc’s Google is abusing its market position are being looked into by India’s antitrust body. It has been alleged that Google has been unfairly promoting its mobile payments app in the country, claimed a report by Reuters citing sources with knowledge of the matter. 
According to the report, the complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) was filed in February and the identity of the complainant has been kept  a secret by the CCU
Google’s online pay app – Google Pay, is unfairly prominently displayed by the US tech giant inside its Android app store in India, the complaint alleged. That strategy provided an unfair advantage to it compared to other rival apps which reduces the options for customers, the complaint said according to the report.
There was no comment available on the issue from Google. Sources reportedly told Reuters that that a few days ago, the CCI has informed Google that a case on these lines has been filed against it and that the company needed to rile a response to the case in due course.
Google is being currently reviewed by senior CCI members, said the report citing a source. In general in cases like these, the defendant, Google in this case, will appear before the watchdog. A decision on how to move forward is taken after that.
A direction to the investigations unit to conduct a probe into the allegations could be given by the CCI or the case could be dismissed over lack of merit in the case.
“It is at a consideration stage,” said the report citing a source.
No comment from the CCI was available.
This is the third occasion that Google has been placed before a major antitrust challenge in India. The company was fined $21 million for “search bias” by the CCI in 2018 but the company had appealed against the verdict which is still pending, An investigation into allegations brought against Google over charges of the company misusing its dominant position that aimed at reducing the ability of smartphone manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system is being conducted by the CCI since last year.
Inter-bank fund transfers and bill payments can be done by users of Google Pay. Softbank-backed Paytm and Walmart’sPhonePe are rivals of Google Pay in the Indian payments market which is already crowded. Similar services are also being planned by Facebook’s WhatsApp.
The Google Pay app had reached 67 million monthly active users in India, Google had said in a blog post in September. The total transaction on the app totalled $110 billion on an annualised basis, the company had said. The use of these apps is rapidly growing in India.   
According to the report, the strong position in the Android market that Google is used by the company to promote the app, alleged the Google antitrust complaint.
According to data from Counterpoint Research, about 98 per cent of the 490 million smartphones in India are powered by Android mobile operating platforms.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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