The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered Google to be investigated for allegedly using its dominant position to promote its application for payments, Google Pay, to the detriment of other competing applications.
The order of the anti-trust body said that the informant provided a detailed background of the Android ecosystem with regard to smart mobile devices, highlighting the importance of the Play Store in the overall architecture of Android. The informant alleged that Google favors Google Pay over other competing apps, through its control over the Play Store and Android Operating System (OS), to the disadvantage of both apps facilitating UPI and user payment. As per the informant, this amounts to an abuse of its dominant position by Google in violation of various provisions of Section 4 of the Act, it said.
The CCI stated that the Commission is of the prima facie opinion that the 'Opposite Parties'-Google, Alphabet Inc.-have violated various provisions of Section 4 of the Act, and a thorough investigation is warranted. Therefore, it said, “In view of the foregoing, the Commission directs the Director-General (‘DG’) to cause an investigation to be made into the matter under the provisions of Section 26(1) of the Act. The Commission also directs the DG to complete the investigation and submit the investigation report within a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of this order.” In response to the allegations, Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. said that in Play's search rankings, Google does not support the GPay app (Tez) and these allegations are "completely misconceived." "Based on different factors that do not benefit the GPay app (Tez), Google ranks search results in Play. In addition, Google has every commercial incentive to ensure that its Play search rankings include high-quality, appropriate apps for users that respond to the user's question, they said in their reply. "The order of the CCI also claimed that nothing stated in the order was equivalent to a final expression of opinion on the merits of the case and that the investigation was performed by the DG" without being affected in any way by the observations made herein.