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CCI to Complete Anti-trust Probe Into Google Play Store in 60 Days

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On Wednesday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) told the Karnataka High Court that it might complete the ongoing anti-trust investigation into Google Play Store policies within 60 days.

The submission in the court was made on behalf of Additional Solicitor General N. Venkataraman, who appeared for the competition watchdog.

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Google said that it would cooperate with the CCI investigation and withdrew its writ petition, filed late last month in the Karnataka HC, asking for more time to reply to the anti-trust investigation by the CCI.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) filed the plea for interim relief in the CCI last October.

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In its writ petition, Google argued that there is “no urgency citing the extension in their Play Store policy deadline”.

“By conveying to the court that the CCI is expected to complete their investigation in 60 days, the antitrust regulator has essentially checkmated Google’s attempt to delay the overall antitrust investigation process by exploiting legal challenges,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF, which is an industry body representing more than 450 digital startups.

The commission is of the prima facie view that such a policy is unfair as it restricts the ability of app developers to select a payment processing system of their choice, said the ADIF.

“We now look forward to the CCI report that is slated to be released in 60 days as was conveyed to the high court today,” George said.

Google said in December that it was extending the timeline for developers in India from March 31, 2022 to October 31, 2022 to help them better integrate with Play Store’s billing system.

“We recognise the unique needs of the developer ecosystem in India and remain committed to partnering with developers in India on their growth journey,” a Google spokesperson had said in a statement.

George said that the ADIF “exhorts Google to fully comply with the antitrust investigation in good faith”.

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