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Startup founders in a virtual meet held on October 10 have decided to approach the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Google’s alleged anti-competition policies in India.

The meeting involved 15 startup founders who discussed Google’s imposition of 30 percent commission on sales made through its Android Play Store and billing system for developers, two startup founders — part of the talks — said as per a report by sources. 

The plan is to put together industry views and convey their grievances via written complaints to the CCI and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) this week, as per the report.

“The startup ecosystem will send a single letter to both the government and CCI,” one founder said.

They further noted that smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system (OS) come pre-downloaded with the company’s Play Store, providing the tech giant an “inherent advantage over rivals”. They further alleged that the company leverages their dependence on Google’s OS and Android OS to force Indian developers to “build and change” as per “arbitrary policies”.

Google’s Android is the most popular smartphone OS in India and 95 percent of the country’s digital population accesses the internet through Google. “…this strategy of having an OS and Play Store, gives Google an advantage over other app stores and OS. Hence, we have requested them to look into this matter,” one founder pointed out.

Google did not respond to queries, as per the report.

This comes even as the CCI is looking into a complaint filed by anti-trust lawyers Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand in June. The watchdog will seek comments from Google and other parties once a formal investigation is launched.

If startups go through with their plan, this would be Google’s fifth anti-trust case in India.


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