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Google is facing an anti-trust storm in India—and it’s definitely not the first

Google-India-CII
REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
An intense relationship.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

India’s startups are digging a bigger hole for Google in India.

On Oct. 10, founders of 15 Indian startups held a virtual meeting with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to discuss Google’s anti-competitive policies in the country, Mint newspaper reported. The meeting was triggered because of Google’s recent move to make it mandatory for Indian apps to use its built-in payments system.

The founders also raised the issue with Google’s demand for a 30% commission on selling digital goods and services through the system. This move is a part of a policy announced by Google, which will be implemented across the world from September 2021. The rising opposition in India has already pushed Google to make an exception for the country, and the policy will come into effect here in April 2022.

The CCI meeting might only be the first of a long battle that Indian entrepreneurs are ready to take on against Google.

Later this week, a group of startup founders are planning to send a written communication to both the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) as well as the CCI after collating views from the industry, Mint reported.

The backlash in India is concerning since the 1.3 billion-strong nation, with loads of untapped potential, is a key market for Google. The company has made several India-first innovations from a light version of its operating system to two-wheeler mode on maps. Google has also pledged to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years. And earlier this year, it invested whopping Rs33,737 crore ($4.61 billion) into India’s—and perhaps the world’s—next big tech company, Jio Platforms.

However, even if the entrepreneur’s complaint is filed, it will not be a first. There have been at least five other antitrust complaints that the Mountain View-based company has faced in India in the past:

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