Govt to take action against Google after antitrust breaches

An antitrust monitor determined last year that Alphabet Inc.’s Google had abused its market position by engaging in anti-competitive practices; as a result, the Indian government wants to take action, a top IT minister said. In two cases involving Google’s abuse of its dominant position in the Android operating system market and its pressure on […]

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Sonia Dham
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An antitrust monitor determined last year that Alphabet Inc.’s Google had abused its market position by engaging in anti-competitive practices; as a result, the Indian government wants to take action, a top IT minister said.

In two cases involving Google’s abuse of its dominant position in the Android operating system market and its pressure on developers to utilise its in-app payment system, India’s antitrust agency penalised the company USD 275 million in October.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the federal deputy minister for information technology, informed that the finding is so serious and will cause deep concern to Indian federal government, which will take its action against Google. In a statement, Chandrasekhar said, “The ministry has to take action,” “We have thought through it. You will see it in the coming weeks. Certainly, it’s not something that we will leave and push under the carpet.”

The minister opted not to elaborate on the potential policy or regulatory measures the government could implement. One of the most senior members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, Chandrasekhar, stated that the problem “is worrying, not just for us, it’s worrying for the entire digital ecosystem in India.”

However, Google has not given any statement on the minister’s remarks. When asked whether he had discussed the matter with Google, Chandrasekhar responded, “There is no need for any discussion. There is a court’s determination.”

The statements from the minister came against a backdrop of growing tensions between Indian companies and Google. After Match Group, the company that owns Tinder, and other startups claimed that Google’s new service charge system for in-app purchases violates the competition commission’s October judgement, India’s competition observer opened a new investigation into the company.

Chandrasekhar also said that India is keen to take strict steps to ensure India’s digital economy is safe.