Google India Changes Android Play Store Billing CCI Order NCLAT Penalty

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In line with the directives issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Google India on Wednesday announced some changes to Android and Play Store billing in the country.

The Supreme Court had last week granted one week’s time to Google India to comply with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order that directed it to deposit 10 per cent of Rs 1,337.76 crore penalty imposed on it by the competition watchdog for alleged anti-competitive practices.

The biggest change will come in the form of giving Android users the ability to customise their devices to suit their preferences. Smartphone users in the country will have the option to choose their default search engine via a choice screen that will soon start to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in the country.

“We take our commitment to comply with local laws and regulations in India seriously. The Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s recent directives for Android and Play require us to make significant changes for India, and today we’ve informed the CCI of how we will be complying with their directives,” Google India told ABP Live in a statement.

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The other major change will be giving users a choice of billing for all apps and games starting in February, which means developers can offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system when buying in-app digital content.

Google India added that it will continue to appeal aspects of the competition watchdog’s decisions.

Earlier last week, the SC refused to entertain the plea of Google against an order of the NCLAT refusing an interim stay on the competition regulator imposing a Rs 1,337 crore penalty on it. A bench, headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, declined the NCLAT order.

The NCLAT had directed Google India to pay the fine, but the company filed an appeal against the order. The NCLAT rejected the appeal and directed the tech behemoth to pay 10 per cent of the penalty imposed by the competition watchdog. Then, Google approached the apex court with a plea against the NCLAT order, but it wasn’t given any relief by the SC.

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