Recently an antitrust Case is filed against Google. Why? What are the allegations against it and how does it affect free and fair business practices? Examine.
Recently, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has started looking into allegations against the Alphabet Inc’s Google.
According to the allegations, Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app (Google Pay) in the country.
The complaint alleges the USA tech giant more prominently showcases its Google Pay app inside its Android app store in India, giving it an unfair advantage over apps of competitors. Google Pay allows users to do digital transactions, inter-bank fund transfers and bill payments.
It competes with Softbank-backed Paytm and Walmart’s PhonePe, both of which are prominently used in India.
Facebook’s WhatsApp is also planning a similar service in the near future.
Google has not responded to the allegations yet and is expected to respond in due course.
The CCI can direct its investigations unit to conduct a wider probe into the allegations or dismiss the case if it finds no merit in it. Google will appear before the CCI, which will then decide on the way forward.
This is Google’s third major antitrust challenge in India. In 2018, the CCI fined Google $21 million for ‘search bias’.
It was alleged that Google was indulging in abuse of a dominant position in the market for online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others.
In 2019, the CCI started probing Google for allegedly misusing its dominant position to reduce the ability of smartphone manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system.
Antitrust law, also referred to as Competition law, aims to protect trade and commerce from unfair restraints, monopolies and price-fixing. It ensures that fair competition exists in an open-market economy.