India fines Google another $114 million, demands Play open to third party payments
Ad and search giant protests even though it's already made the same changes in other countries
Fresh from fining Google $162 million for abusing its Android monopoly, India's Competition Commission has announced it will fine Google another ₹936.44 crore ($114 million) for anti-competitive practices in relation to its Play store.
An announcement from the Commission reasons that if Google has a mobile OS monopoly, and the Play store requires use of Google's payment systems, that payment policy is another act of monopoly behavior.
In addition to the fine – which represents the fruits of about a morning's work for Google – the Commission has demanded that the ads and search giant allow third party payment schemes to be accessed through the Play store, allow direct communication between developers and their customers, and not discriminate against developers that decide to allow third party payments.
Google has already started trials for third party payment schemes in the Play store and has acquiesced to South Korean laws requiring arrangements similar to those India has demanded.
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Indian outlets nonetheless report that Google is reviewing the decision with an eye to a possible appeal, while local developers are preparing to take legal action against Google.
Google's also tangentially touched by another big tech policy fight in India, where a draft telecommunication bill would see over the top voice and video comms servers regulated in the same way as India's telecommunications carriers.
As the tweet below from Cellular Operators Association of India demonstrates, carriers like the idea of a level playing field:
Commenting on #OTTs allocation under the ambit of new #TelecomBill, #COAI upholds 'Same Services, Same Rules' principle for fair, healthy competition & level playing field, urging #OTTs to invest & contribute towards the development of robust #digital #networks in #India.— COAI (@ConnectCOAI) October 26, 2022
The Asia Internet Coalition, Big Tech's regional lobby group, does not. A letter from the Coalition to India's government points out that over the top comms services don't need to interact with government to access spectrum or assign numbers, so deserve their own regulations. The Coalition also feels that its members offer services that traditional carriers do not.
India embarked on telecoms law reform because its key legislation was passed before the internet existed.
India's government has extended its deadline for comment on the telecoms bill until October 30. The Register is watching for its response, and any notable submissions. ®