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    NCLAT admits appeal from Kuku FM and Shaadi.com over Google Play Store Billing after Competition Regulator’s denial

    What’s the news?

    The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on May 10 admitted the appeal filed by Kuku FM and Shaadi.com and Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order denying their interim relief from complying with Google Play Store’s Billing policies, Moneycontrol reported. NCLAT has also sought a response from Google. A hearing is expected to take place on May 24.

    Some context

    On March 15, the CCI ordered an investigation into Google based on complaints received about Google Play Store’s Billing Policy from app developers including Shaadi.com, Kuku FM  and representatives from the media industry such as the IBDF. The new billing policy allows users to either stick with the old billing system or include an alternative billing system from a third-party payment service provider. App developers would be required to pay a commission (which was reduced by 4 percent from the old billing system) if the user chose the alternative billing.

    Here’s an infographic of the various options under Google’s new billing policy for your reference:

    The complaint alleged unfair and discriminatory service fees, denial of market access, restrictions to technical development, and the abuse of dominance in one market to enter others. The investigation was ordered a few days after Shaadi.com, Kuku FM and some other apps were delisted for non-compliance with the new Billing Policy. Thus, interim relief filed Shaadi.com, Kuku FM, and the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) requested that the Commission restrain Google from imposing its policies while the investigation was underway, which was subsequently denied.

    What did the interim relief seek?

    Interim relief sought by Shaadi.com and Kuku FM called to prevent Google from delisting or hampering the visibility of the apps for non-adherence to Google’s billing policy. It also called to prohibit Google from sharing any payment-related data and levying any fee if a transaction is processed inside an app through third-party billing systems. Finally, it called for Google to halt its policy of mandating any guidelines, including UI/UX Guidelines, which dictate user interface or flow. The Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) sought similar concessions and also urged the CCI to direct Google to allow all app developers to provide the same payment option, and to impose no additional conditions.

    What did the CCI order say?

    The CCI denied interim relief saying that “any measures taken should be proportionate and carefully crafted to minimize unintended consequences and preserve the overall integrity and functionality of the platform ecosystem.”

    Further, it stated that the complainants failed to adequately demonstrate how complying with Google’s policies “would result in irreparable harm that cannot be remedied through monetary compensation.” They also stated that parts of the relief sought, like those concerning data collection, UI/UX interface, etc., did not align with the cases currently under investigation.

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    The post NCLAT admits appeal from Kuku FM and Shaadi.com over Google Play Store Billing after Competition Regulator’s denial appeared first on MediaNama.

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