Google to face probe over misusing reach for Google Play

Competition Commission of India has sought a probe in an antitrust case against the internet giant Google. The case is related to one of the major UPI payments apps in India, Google Pay, owned by Google. The case alleges unfair business practices by Google.

“… the Commission is of the prima facie view that the Opposite Parties have contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act… These aspects warrant a detailed investigation,” it said Commission said in a 39-page order. NPCI has ordered a probe by its Director General (DG) for the alleged anti-competitive activities of Google Pay.


The allegation over Google is that it unfairly promoted its own payments app via “prominent placement on the Play Store” and “imposing unfair terms on users by requiring them to use Google Pay which is not in compliance with the data localization directive issued by Reserve Bank of India and the guidelines issued by NPCI”.

The case alleges the violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act that pertains to the abuse of a dominant market position. The Commission is of the prima facie view that the market for apps facilitating payment through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) appears to be a distinct relevant market for the assessment of allegations in the present matter, the order said.

The CCI said, “the prima facie view that said the conduct of Google amounts to imposition of unfair and discriminatory condition, denial of market access for competing apps of Google Pay and leveraging on the part of Google, in terms of different provisions of Section 4(2) of the Act.” The probe has been ordered against five entities — Alphabet Inc, Google LLC, Google Ireland Ltd, Google India Pvt Ltd, and Google India Digital Services Pvt Ltd.

Earlier, an allegation of gambling policies on payment app ‘Paytm’ and it was removed from the Google Play Store. Paytm CEO, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, had expressed surprise over the removal. Sharma alleged Google for having monopolistic policies that hurt local businesses and jeopardize the growth of digitization in the country and added that the US giant was a “money collecting, money siphoning” machinery.