Google is very much involved in the Indian regulatory crosshairs. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently ordered antitrust regulators to investigate Google News platform practices, and such investigations have been held against Indian high-tech giant practices5. The second survey.
Products, services, and policies under scrutiny include how the company allows purchases on the Play Store, efforts to promote Google Pay, Android TV license agreements, and Android’s dominance that appears to limit competition. .. As a user choice. CCI has already fined Google 135.86 Chlore in 2018 for prejudice in search results, where tech giants are world leaders.
The latest research is about how Google runs News, an aggregate service deeply embedded in Google Discover and Google Search platforms for phones and PCs.
The Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA), which includes the digital division of India’s largest media house (including Hindustan Times), is an algorithm that determines which news websites get more visitors (clicks) from search. Expresses concern about the opacity of India. It produced results and questioned the one-sided decision to share revenue with publishers. Publisher snippets are often used in news and searches to enhance results.
As DNPA, we are very grateful to CCI for addressing the issue and are confident that justice will be provided, said DNPA Executive Secretary Sujata Gupta. Google India did not respond to requests for comments.
The investigation order reveals that Google may have violated the provisions of Section 4 of the 2002 Competition Law. When viewed in this vertically integrated ecosystem operated by Google, the informant’s allegations are that news publishers accept the terms imposed by Google, CCI said in an order. In a sense, Google is the gateway between publishers and readers.
Google News is globally comparable to aggregator platforms such as Microsoft Start (an alternative to Microsoft News) and Apple News. However, Microsoft has changed that with an optional taskbar integration in the Windows 11 newsfeed app, neither of which has the benefit of being integrated into a platform as large as Google Search.
Google and Alphabet Inc. If you read CCI’s key instructions against, you will find that there is sufficient criminal information and evidence to show the abuse of Google’s monopoly and control in the relevant markets: online web search services and online search advertising services. Managing partner of TMT Low Practice.
Loss of revenue is a concern for news publishers. Informants claim that Google is a major stakeholder in the digital advertising space and unilaterally decides how much to pay publishers for content created by publishers. States.
Competition law or regulatory intervention is the right way to bring about fairness and practicability in the news industry, the fifth pillar of democracy, an associate professor of law and BML regulatory technology. Vikas Kathuria, head of the center, said. Manjar University.
In many countries, Google was under the scanner about how to negotiate with news publishers. The company was fined $ 592 million in France in July 2021 for violating payment terms negotiations with publishers for content reuse.
Since then, Google has been in good faith with the publisher to offer proposals such as a five-year revenue contract that does not affect the ranking of protected content.
In 2020, the Australian Government first proposed a news media negotiation code to ensure that platforms such as Google and Facebook trade content with news publishers. In 2021, before the bill was passed in Australia, Google scrambled to sign contracts with major publishers.
It will ensure that the news media business is fairly rewarded for the content they produce. Media freedom is an obligation under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Virag Gupta, a lawyer and cyber law expert, said putting Google within the framework of Indian law would ensure the right to life of Indian developers and users.
Google Plays restrictions
Tech giants are also investigating Play Store policies. The new Google Play billing system, which developers need to force integration into all apps and games published on the Play Store for Android, will be the only route for in-app purchases. Whether it’s a one-time purchase or a subscription. Google takes a cut from each transaction.
Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director of the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), forced app owners to choose a payment system and refused app owners to choose a payment provider, allowing Google to market the market. By misusing it, we are indulging in anti-competitive behavior. ).
There are serious numbers here. According to the latest figures from research firm StatCounter, Android has a market share of about 95.24% in India. Apples iOS for iPhone has a 3.76% share and continues for a long time. The Google Play Store is the official platform for downloading apps and games to your Android device. The Play billing system can use Google Pay, the company’s own digital payment platform.
Google claims that very few developers will be affected by the change. Regardless of the number of app owners affected, this practice violates competition law, George added.
Last year, Google reduced fees for some transactions, such as subscriptions, from 30% to 15%.
In South Korea, Google currently offers an alternative payment system of choice for Play Store developers. The new law prohibits app platforms from monopolizing payment methods. This has forced technology giants, including Google, to expand the options available to developers. The Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has already fined Google $ 176.64 million in September for antitrust practices.
Advantage Google Pay?
CCI is scanning Google’s policies regarding the privileges granted to the payment app Google Pay, including preloading on Android smartphones sold in India. Google Pay was formerly known as Google Tez. The controversy is that Google Pays rivals, including PhonePe, Paytm, Amazon Pay, and WhatsApp Pay, do not have the same privileges.
The market is huge. Some of India’s most popular phones are running Android.
A similar case in Europe was when Internet Explorer was preloaded on a Microsoft Windows computer, thereby impacting the market for other browsers. Microsoft has been forced to give users the option of choosing a browser. Bundled Google Pay on Android phones could be a similar case affecting competitors in this area, said Prasanth Sugathan, General Counsel Director at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC.in).
George said the amount of user data that Google already holds could help expand its dominance and monopoly by adding user financial data.
Android monopoly, global issues
The smartphone operating system Android is also under the scanner, highlighting Google’s own apps. Not so surprisingly, CCI said in September 2021 that Google was guilty of anti-competitive behavior and restrictive trading practices over Android and the phone market.
Google Pay is not the only app to get prime preload privileges on Android smartphones. If you want to integrate Google Mobile Services (GMS) into Android used by phone makers, you need to force preload 10 apps including Gmail, Chrome, Maps, Photos and Search on your Android phone.
Otherwise, in the highly competitive Android phone market, you will only have access to the minimum Android version, which is not really an option.
This is not a particular issue in India.
The UK Government’s Competitive Markets Authority (CMA) released a report in December. According to this report, Apple and Google have excessive control over the operating system (iOS and Android), the App Store (AppStore and PlayStore), and the web browser (Safari). And Chrome) together to form an ecosystem. When people buy phones running either platform, there is concern that they are primarily controlled by this ecosystem.
Google is fighting a $ 4.34 billion ($ 5 billion) fine imposed by the European Union in 2018 after being convicted of similar anti-competitive acts with Android.
Bias in search
CCI penalized Google for 135.85 chlores in 2018 after it turned out to be biased in search results. The findings show that Google’s search results are tailored to prioritize company-specific services and partners, while deploying advertising services that put some advertisers at a disadvantage over others. It shows that.
The existence of a monopoly in the tech field is a reality, and we’ve seen various European and American regulators taking action against Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, says Sugasan. ..
This isn’t the first time Google has been fined. Google was fined $ 9.7 billion by the European Commission in three antitrust proceedings. In the United States, Virag Gupta points out that many states have filed proceedings against Google over anti-competitive practices to boost the online advertising business by illegally cooperating with social network Facebook.
TV contract under the lens
Google’s agreement with smart TV makers is also being investigated. Again, the problem is that Google requires TV makers to sign TV App Distribution Agreements (TADAs) and Android Compatibility Commitments (ACCs). This requires that the entire suite of Google apps need to be preloaded on the TV. Includes YouTube, Google Play Movies, Play Store.
What do you expect?
Android’s antitrust rulings have been fined and it may take some time for the ongoing investigation to be completed. The Play Store billing policy survey will be completed within 60 days. And the Google News Policy survey is two big things.
In either case, given the widespread guilty evidence available, Google is likely to be held liable for abuse of dominant bargaining position. Malhotra said that when held accountable, the amount of penalties will be levied on the basis of Google’s sales, in accordance with the applicable provisions of the law.
CCI sets a marker in the verdict on Google Play Store practices. Antitrust regulators have already begun investigating Apple App Store policies, including in-app transaction fees, banning competing app stores on the iPhone, and app submission approval policies.
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