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Google Withdraws Appeal, Opening the Door for Indian Startups Against User Choice Billing System

 |  December 7, 2023

Google, the tech giant, has decided to withdraw its appeal against a Delhi High Court order that instructed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to consider the petitions filed by Indian startups challenging Google’s user choice billing system.

Google’s counsel, senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, informed the Delhi High Court that the initial order was issued by a single judge at a time when the CCI lacked the necessary quorum to hear the petitions. However, Poovayya noted that the CCI now has the required quorum and has been actively reviewing the pleas put forth by Indian startups.

While expressing Google’s desire to withdraw the appeal, Poovayya stated that the company wishes to keep the legal questions raised in the case open for future consideration. This move suggests a strategic decision by Google to step back from the legal battle while maintaining the opportunity to revisit the legal aspects of the matter at a later stage.

Related: Indian Watchdog Sets Its Eyes On Google, Again

On the other side of the courtroom, the CCI’s counsel, Akanksha Kaul, informed the court that the regulatory body has no objections to Google’s withdrawal of the appeal. This development paves the way for the CCI to continue its examination of the concerns raised by Indian startups regarding Google’s user choice billing system without any hindrance from the tech giant’s legal challenge.

The dispute revolves around Google’s billing system, which has faced criticism from Indian startups alleging anti-competitive practices and a lack of transparency. The startups argue that the user choice billing system imposed by Google limits their ability to choose alternative payment methods, affecting their competitiveness in the app market.

This withdrawal by Google marks a significant moment for Indian app developers and startups, as it allows the CCI to proceed with its hearings and potentially address the grievances raised by the concerned parties. The decision may also have broader implications for the tech industry in India, setting a precedent for addressing similar issues related to competition and fairness in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.

Source: Inc.42