In recent years, Google has faced enough antitrust action to be seriously reminded of its own tagline “Don’t be evil.” Alphabet-owned search engine company is now battling serious antitrust allegations in India. According to a complaint, Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in India. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has kept the identity of the complainant confidential, as per sources with direct knowledge of the case.
Google Faces Antitrust Case in India
Google will now be summoned before the antitrust watchdog which will then decide on the course of action.
Google vs India This would be Google’s third major antitrust bout in India. In 2018, Google was found guilty of indulging in “search bias,” an action that led to $21 million fine. According to the case files, Google misused its dominant position to reduce the search visibility of smartphone manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android OS.
Google competes against Softbank-backed Paytm and Walmart’s PhonePe in India’s growing digital payments market. In its blog in September, Google announced its payments platform had grown to reach 67 million monthly active users, driving transactions worth over $110 billion on a yearly basis.
Use of digital payments app has increased in India as a part of the nation’s vision to transform India into a cashless society.
According to the antitrust complaint against Google, the company leveraged its strong position in the Android market to promote the Google Pay app. Android OS accounts for 98% of smartphones in India.
Abuse of dominant position to promote one’s own app is not unknown in India’s growing digital society. Earlier this month, it was reported that CCI is looking into allegations against WhatsApp for abusing its position by offering payment services to the nation’s vast user base.