Google moves Karnataka HC against CCI probe, ADIF fumes


(IANS) Amid the growing debate over its Play Store rules, Google on Monday filed a writ in the Karnataka High Court, asking for more time to reply to the anti-trust investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The plea for interim relief was filed by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) in the CCI this October.

Google, in its writ petition, argued that there is “no urgency citing the extension in their Play Store policy deadline”.

The ADIF termed this development and action by Google yet another delay tactic.

“This legal challenge by Google is yet another delay tactic and an attempt to frustrate the antitrust process. It also calls into question their good faith,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF.

“The only commitments that have been consistent on the part of Google throughout this entire antitrust process has been their commitment to a) delay the process in every way possible and b) protect their super profits from the app economy abusing its dominance,” he said in a statement.

Google said earlier this month that it is extending the timeline for developers in India from March 31, 2022 to October 31, 2022 to help them better integrate with Play Store’s billing system.

In October last year, Google had announced a timeline extension for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option on Google Play.

“We recognise the unique needs of the developer ecosystem in India and remain committed to partnering with developers in India on their growth journey,” a Google spokesperson had said in a statement.

George said that the ADIF “exhorts Google to comply with the antitrust process in good faith and as per the directives of the CCI”.

“The prayer of the interim challenge is for maintenance of status quo until the CCI antitrust investigation is complete and verdict is out. It has to be noted that Google has made three major revisions related to play store billing policy in just the last 3 months – none of which addresses the underlying issue and all of which aimed at frustrating and delaying the antitrust process,” the ADIF argued.

Google’s refusal to share information and frustrate the anti-trust investigation process on one side and its attempts to keep making changes to their PlayStore billing on the other side reeks of arrogance & abuse of dominance — making the plea for interim relief all the more prescient and urgent, the foundation said.

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