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CCI to examine if Google's new users' choice billing policy violates its order
Image Credit: Pawel Czerwinski via Unsplash

CCI to examine if Google's new users' choice billing policy violates its order

| @indiablooms | 12 May 2023, 10:02 pm

New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday said that it is required to investigate Google's new users' choice billing policy and verify if the company has adhered to the October 2022 directive, which directed the US-based tech giant to refrain from limiting app developers from using third-party billing systems, media reports said.

The CCI has made several observations based on the order and has directed Google to provide a response regarding these observations, Moneycontrol reported.

The revised billing system policy applies solely to app developers offering apps to users within India and does not extend to Indian app developers offering apps to users outside of India.

The order highlights that app developers have been given the choice of using an alternative billing system exclusively for in-app purchases, whereas the CCI's directive covered both paid apps and in-app purchases, the competition watchdog observed.

App developers are still required to include Google Play Billing System as one of the available billing options.

On a selective basis, the Users Choice Billing (UCB) has been extended, but this extension does not apply to gaming applications. Google is required to provide clarification regarding whether all app developers have been granted the option to utilize third-party billing or payment processing services.

Furthermore, the CCI has expressed concerns regarding Google's non-compliance with its directives regarding anti-steering provisions.

It has observed that these provisions remain a part of Google's payment policy, raising further questions and prompting the need for clarification from Google, the Moneycontrol report said.

Google has been instructed to provide a detailed explanation of its billing service policies, specifically concerning paid apps and in-app purchases, as well as anti-steering provisions both prior to and following the implementation of User Choice Billing (UCB), the report added.

Google has been asked to provide a copy of the amended policies that were implemented after incorporating the various directions outlined by the Commission in its October 2022 order.

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