Google drops its objection to the CCI probe, promoting the fair play of startups
Google has withdrawn its appeal against the Competition Commission of India's (CCI) probe into its invoicing system, which is a noteworthy development. For startups, this action is a win because it promotes an equitable business climate. The decision underscores the significance of fair competition in the Indian startup scene and heralds heightened scrutiny of tech giants.
Google’s counsel senior advocate Sajan Poovayya told the Delhi HC that the order was passed by a single judge when the CCI did not have the quorum to hear the plea. However, the CCI now has the quorum and has been hearing the plea by startups, he said.
Poovayya further told the court that while Google wishes to withdraw the appeal, it wishes to keep the questions of law open. On the other hand, the CCI’s counsel Akanksha Kaul told the court that the regulator has no objections to the withdrawal.
The matter goes back to April this year, when a group of Indian startups moved the Delhi HC asking the competition watchdog to hear their appeals against Google’s user choice billing system. The HC then asked the CCI to hear the applications.
In May 2023, the CCI said it needed to inquire into Google’s new billing policy and check whether the company complied with its October 2022 order asking the tech major not to restrict app developers from using third-party billing systems.
Google came out with the new user choice billing system after the CCI slapped a fine of INR 936 Cr on it last year for abusing its dominant position in the app store market.
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