NCLAT seeks answers in Google-CCI case

New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday sought response from Google and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on a plea challenging the penalty imposed by Google. 936.44 crores.

CCI had penalized Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the app store market ecosystem. NCLAT has postponed the hearing till November 28.

Earlier this year, in January, NCLAT had already refused to grant interim relief to Google in the case and rejected its challenge against the CCI fine. Subsequently, Google took the case to the Supreme Court but withdrew the appeal in April, opting to continue the case in NCLAT.

along with imposing a fine of CCI of Rs 936.44 crore directed Google not to indulge in anti-competitive activities and made it mandatory to engage third-party billing and payment processing services for in-app purchases. Google was also directed not to discriminate against any third-party app or payment processing service.

According to CCI, “If app developers do not comply with Google’s policy of using the Google Play Store, they are not allowed to list their apps on the Play Store and thus, they are deprived of a huge pool of potential customers.” Will happen. Android users. Making access to the Play Store dependent on mandatory use of GPBS for paid apps and in-app purchases is one-sided and arbitrary, devoid of any legitimate business interest. App developers are left without a built-in option to use the payment processor of their choice from the open market.”

However, Google argued that predatory apps expose users in India and other countries to financial fraud, data theft and various internet-related risks. Google takes responsibility for scanning apps on the Play Store for malware and complying with local laws, but there may not be the same level of scrutiny for apps sideloaded from other sources.

Google has expressed concern about the existence of multiple Android versions, often referred to as ‘forks’, saying that this practice undermines the consistent and predictable ecosystem that has provided users and developers for more than 15 years. Have benefited. Google argues that these forks will not be able to support the security and user protection features provided by Google. As a result, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may bear the financial burden, potentially resulting in higher costs for them and, in turn, more expensive devices for consumers in India.

It is worth noting that CCI had imposed two fines on Google for anti-competitive behaviour, with the other penalty amount being Rs. 1,337.76 crore. Later NCLAT upheld it Google was fined Rs 1,333.76 crore, a decision which was also confirmed by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

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