Google's Service Charges To App Developers Stand As CCI Denies 'Interim Relief'

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has decided not to grant “interim relief” to several companies seeking to prevent Google from charging service fees to app developers while investigations continue into the tech giant’s payment policies.

What Happened: This decision affects notable entities such as People Interactive India, which runs Shaadi.com and Sangam.com, and others like the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation and Mebigo Labs, the creators of Kuku FM.

Despite their appeal, the CCI ruled that these companies did not fulfil the stringent criteria set by the Supreme Court for such interim measures. Nevertheless, the CCI’s ongoing investigation into Google’s Play Store billing practices remains unaffected, with the directive that it should proceed uninfluenced by recent developments.

The core of the dispute lies in Google’s policy of levying a fee on transactions within apps offering digital goods, a move contested by several Indian firms.

See also: LIC Employee Who Exploited Late Father’s Account In Front-Running Scheme Fired

Google defends its stance by highlighting the costs involved in managing an app store, arguing that waiving these fees would be equivalent to offering its services for free. The CCI noted that the companies could not prove Google’s actions would cause irreparable damage that financial compensation couldn’t remedy, nor could they convince the commission that the situation overwhelmingly favoured them.

This situation follows a broader concern, with the CCI initiating a detailed investigation last week into Google’s billing rules, responding to complaints from Indian businesses about the company’s 11-30% commission on in-app purchases. The controversy led to the temporary removal of apps from major companies from the Play Store, which was later reinstated after intervention from the Indian government.

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