Regulators in India are looking at Google over antitrust issues amid charges that the tech giant is using its market dominance to unfairly pitch its mobile payments app.
As Reuters reported, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has kept the identity of the complainant confidential. However, sources said the Commission told Google a couple days ago about the investigation, which was triggered in February.
Google Pay allows users in India to conduct inter-bank fund transfers and bill payments. India has a highly competitive digital payments market, which Facebook is planning to join via its WhatsApp product. Google offers its Google Pay app as part of its Android app store in India.
Google reported in September that its payments app had rapidly grown in India to reach 67 million monthly active users.
The antitrust complaint charges that Google uses its dominance in the Android market to promote its app. It also alleges that the U.S. tech giant more prominently showcases its Google Pay app inside its Android app store in India.
Meanwhile, the Android operating system powers a dominant share of India’s market: Counterpoint Research said that it comprises 98 percent of the 490 million smartphones in India.
The case is reportedly in the “consideration stage,” meaning it could still be dismissed.
Google has previously run afoul of Indian regulators. The company was fined more than $21 million in 2018 by the Indian antitrust commission after being accused of “search bias” and abusing its position of power. Google is still appealing. As PYMNTS reported, the antitrust commission said Google caused “harm to its competitors as well as to users.”
The commission’s antitrust order said: “Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services.”
As reported by PYMNTS, Facebook’s WhatsApp is being eyed by Indian regulators, as bundling Facebook’s Messenger app with a payment service could be a violation of antitrust laws.