Google moves Karnataka HC against CCI’s probe into Play Store rules

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New Delhi: Google has filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court, seeking more time to respond to Competition Commission of India’s questions into its Play store rules.

The company has argued that since its has voluntarily delayed till Oct. 31, 2022, the implementation of its latest Play Store policy in India, there is no “urgency” to the matter. Sources said that the company has also asked for appointment of a judicial member on the panel which is probing the matter and the identity of the complainant to be disclosed in order for the company to respond adequately.

The plea for interim relief was filed by Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) in the

in October. The anti-trust regulator was pressing Google to respond to its questions by December 31, according to sources. The Competition Commission of India had earlier sought Google’s response by November 19. The US company has sought eight more weeks to reply.

“We have filed a writ in Karnataka High Court regarding the interim relief application in the Google Play probe by the CCI, seeking to move forward in line with established due process principles. We respect the CCI’s investigative process and will continue to engage cooperatively and constructively in the interest of a fair investigation,” a Google spokesperson told ET.

Earlier this month Google said that it is providing developers a further six months to comply with the revised policy for purchases on its Play Store, as it seeks to combat strident opposition from Indian internet startups that have termed the technology giant’s payment policies anti-competitive and monopolistic.

The policy, which now comes into force on October 31, 2022, will “provide developers in India the required product support for recurring payments,” following the central bank’s recent revision to guidelines overseeing recurring digital payments, the search giant said on Friday.

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ET had reported last week that India’s anti-trust regulator, which is investigating allegations of market dominance levelled against technology major Google’s Playstore policies, has begun in-person depositions from a slew of local internet startups, multiple people in the know of the matter told ET.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which is probing charges that Google levies a “hefty” commission from app developers, is seeking comments from firms including edtech unicorn Unacademy, dating apps TrulyMadly and Tinder, matrimony sites such as Shaadi.com and BharatMatrimony as well as a few OTT platforms and online gaming ventures.

Since June, CCI has asked nearly two dozen startups to explain how the American company’s app store policy impacts their businesses and whether its operating system Android, which runs on 98% of the smartphones in India, enjoys a dominance in five key areas including dating, gaming, edtech, OTT and matrimony.

In a detailed questionnaire sent to these startups, CCI had sought information about their financials and the impact of Google’s Playstore commission, management structure and whether their apps are also downloaded from other app stores apart from Google.

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