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Disney Said to Approach Court in Legal Challenge Against Google’s In-App Billing System




The Competition Commission of India opened an inquiry into Google in May after complaints from Match and startups in the country.
By Reuters | Updated: 18 July 2023

Walt Disney has approached a court in India in an ongoing legal challenge against Google’s in-app billing system, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

In May, the country’s competition watchdog started an inquiry into Google after some companies alleged the service fee the US firm charges for in-app payments breaches an earlier antitrust directive.

Google, which counts India as a key growth market, had earlier said the service fee supports investments in the Google Play app store and the Android mobile operating system, ensuring it distributes it for free and covers developer tools and analytic services.

At the time, Tinder-owner Match Group and Indian startups had asked the watchdog to investigate Google’s new User Choice Billing (UCB) system, which they alleged was anti-competitive.

In October 2022, the CCI imposed a $113 million (roughly Rs. 878 crore) fine on Google and said it must allow the use of third-party billing and stop forcing developers to use its in-app payment system that charges commission of 15 percent to 30 percent.

Google later began offering UCB to allow alternative payments alongside Google’s when purchasing in-app digital content, but some companies complained the new system still imposes a high “service fee” of 11 percent to 26 percent.

This, Match and the Alliance of Digital India Foundation argued, meant Google had not complied with the earlier antitrust directive that ordered it not to impose any such “unfair and disproportionate” conditions.

© Thomson Reuters 2023