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CCI to complete probe into Google Play Store in 60 days, ADIF’s interim relief application set aside

CCI agreed with Google to have the application dismissed but not before seeking certain assurances from the tech giant.

The Competiton Commission of India (CCI) on January 5 informed the Karnataka High Court that it would complete its investigation into Google’s Play Store practices within 60 days, Economic Times reported.

CCI made this assertion in response to a petition filed by Google in the court on December 27. Google had asked the court to quash the December 14 order issued by the CCI, which sought a response from the company on the plea filed by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) seeking interim relief from Google’s new billing policy until the investigation is complete.

The outcome of this investigation will be of significance to app developers and start-ups across the country as the anti-trust watchdog will decide on whether or not Google is allowed to force apps to use its billing system and whether the commission charged by the company is reasonable.

Google, CCI agree to file for disposal of the petition

Both Google and CCI are expected to file a joint memo for the disposal of the petition after CCI set aside ADIF’s request for interim orders, the ET report said. Google’s counsel had argued that interim orders are unnecessary as the company has voluntarily delayed the new billing policy to October 2022 instead of March 2022.

“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing before the Karnataka High Court and welcome the CCI’s recognition that there is no need to proceed with ADIF’s request for interim orders, and that CCI will instead focus on completing its ongoing factual probe.” — Google spokesperson

CCI sought two assurances from Google while agreeing to have the petition closed:

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  1. Google must cooperate with the investigation in order for the probe to be completed within the stipulated time.
  2. Google should not advance the date of the updated Play Store billing policy.

Google responded that it has already provided over 9,000 pages of documents and will continue to cooperate with the CCI investigation and that the extended date provided for the billing policy is resolute and will not be advanced.

We look forward to the CCI report: ADIF

ADIF’s counsel accepted that their interim relief application will be set aside provided that the association can file for relief once CCI’s investigation report is out. “We now look forward to the CCI report,” ADIF said in its statement.

“Google’s consistent attempts throughout have been to implement their mandatory Play Store billing policy and to also delay or evade any antitrust indictment. By conveying to the Court that the CCI is expected to complete their investigation in 60 days, the antitrust regulator has essentially checkmated Google’s attempt to delay the overall antitrust investigation process by exploiting legal challenges,” Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF said.

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