Google fined $113 million over payment practices

India’s antitrust watchdog has fined Google $113 million over payment practicesunjust“, a week after having already sentenced him to 162 million dollars for abuse of a dominant position.

Google’s Android operating system largely dominates the Indian market, where it is used on 95% of the country’s smartphones, according to industry research firm Counterpoint. Independent software developers distribute their own software on Android through Google Play, but must use Google’s billing system to get their customers’ money. This practice results inunfair terms for app developerssaid the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in a statement announcing the fine.

Google’s billing practicesunilateral and arbitrary“prevent the developers”to use the payment processor of their liking“says the commission. The ICC ordered Google to allow developers to use other billing systems and to treat them on a fair basis.

Second fine in days

This is the second fine imposed in a few days on Google by the CCI. Last week, Google was fined $162 million by India’s antitrust watchdog for abusing its dominant position in the local smartphone market. The CCI also asked Google not to enter into agreements with smartphone manufacturers that would encourage them to sell only devices running Android or to use its software exclusively.

Last month, European justice imposed a record fine of more than 4 billion euros on the American giant, confirming a judgment in Brussels in 2018, also for abuse of a dominant position in its Android operating system. The EU court confirmed that Google did “imposed illegal restrictions (…) in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine“.

India has the second highest number of smartphone users in the world, after China. Its smartphone market grew 27% year-on-year in 2021, according to Counterpoint, with annual sales exceeding 169 million units. More than 60% of phones sold in the country come from major Chinese manufacturers, including Xiaomi and Oppo.

Apple remains a minor player in India’s huge budget-dominated market, but has made some inroads in recent years, prompting the company to announce plans to locally manufacture its latest iPhone 14 model last month.

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