The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a detailed probe against Google for ‘abuse’ of its dominant position, primarily with regard to its digital payments application GPay.
- The order follows a complaint by an ‘informant’ alleging multiple instances of abuse of dominant position by Google, with CCI deciding to carry forward the investigation into two of these instances — pre-installation of GPay on Android OS smartphones and use of Google Play’s in-app billing as the method of payment by developers.
- The Commission is of the prima facie view that Google has contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act. These aspects warrant a detailed investigation. The Commission has directed the Director General to finish the probe and submit the report in 60 days.
About ‘Competition Commission of India’
- The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
- The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India, which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003.
- CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government (not less than 2 members). It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
- The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
Significance of CCI
- Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices.
- With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialise. This would result in reduced costs and wider choice to consumers. A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective.
- The goal of CCI is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.
- “The main objective of competition law is to promote economic efficiency using competition as one of the means of assisting the creation of market responsive to consumer preferences. The advantages of perfect competition are three-fold: allocative efficiency, which ensures the effective allocation of resources, productive efficiency, which ensures that costs of production are kept at a minimum and dynamic efficiency, which promotes innovative practices.” – Supreme Court of India in 2010.