India has begun an inquiry into Google for alleged in-app payments breaches

India’s competition watchdog has begun an inquiry into Google over allegations of anti-competitive practices in its in-app payment system. Companies, including Tinder-owner Match Group, have raised concerns about the service fee charged by Google. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation, seeking explanations from Google regarding the payment system and data sharing policies.

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has initiated an inquiry into Google following complaints from companies regarding the service fee charged for in-app payments, according to a regulatory order seen by Reuters. The inquiry was prompted by Match Group, the owner of Tinder, and several Indian startups who alleged that Google’s User Choice Billing (UCB) system was anti-competitive.

The CCI previously fined Google $113 million in October 2022 for antitrust violations and directed the company to allow third-party billing options and cease the mandatory use of its in-app payment system. While Google introduced UCB to allow alternative payments, companies argue that the new system still imposes a high service fee of 11%-26%, violating the earlier directive.

The CCI has asked Google to provide explanations about provisions related to the in-app payment system and disclose policies regarding the sharing of user and app developer data. Google must respond within four weeks. However, the company claims the service fee supports investments in the Google Play app store, Android operating system, and developer tools and services.