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Vijay Shekhar Sharma: Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and different startup founders take row with Google to CCI doorways

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MUMBAI/BENGALURU: India’s antitrust regulator on Friday met with a gaggle of startup founders together with the chief govt of Paytm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, to grasp the considerations raised by them over Google’s alleged misuse of market dominance within the nation, two folks straight conscious of the matter informed ET.

Founders of Bharat Matrimony, Map My India, Truly Madly and nCore Games had been additionally among the many 13-15 entrepreneurs who attended the assembly with a senior Competition Commission of India (CCI) official, one of many folks stated.

They appraised the CCI official of situations the place the US-based tech large may very well be posing a monopoly danger to the nation’s burgeoning app ecosystem, the folks stated. This comes per week after a bigger group of Indian startup founders met with electronics and IT secretary Ajay Sawhney to precise their considerations over Google’s Play Store practices.

The watchdog is conducting an antitrust probe towards Google in India over its alleged abuse of its dominant place within the sensible TV market by blocking firms eager to develop new options on its Android system.

ET couldn’t confirm if the CCI was contemplating any probe into the considerations raised by the startup founders. The fee, Google and Paytm didn’t reply to emails searching for remark until press time Sunday.

“Concerns related to Google’s monopoly and undue control in setting the rules for the Indian tech startups using its platform was raised in the meeting,” stated the primary individual.

“Different founders had different grievances. The big picture was how they (Google’s actions) have been affecting the growth of Indian companies and abusing the market,” the individual stated.

“Startups from the National Capital Region went to the CCI physically. Startups from Mumbai and Bengaluru joined the meeting on a video call,” the second individual stated. “We acknowledge all the good Google has done for the world, but it should not be allowed to be unfair … The CCI was already very much aware and informed of the issue … It was a good meeting.”

The CCI has the powers to provoke an investigation suo moto with no formal grievance, antitrust lawyer Abir Roy stated.

“However, in commercial issues, there are few cases where the CCI has taken suo moto cognisance. It is to be noted that the CCI can also take cognisance based on complaints made by persons who may be directly affected too since the requirement of locus isn’t there. As such, it is not surprising that startups’ hope that the CCI will intervene on their own,” he stated.

The latest developments, kicked off by the US-based tech behemoth’s non permanent delisting of the nation’s largest fintech app, Paytm, from Play Store on September 18 after which asserting a 30% fee on in-app purchases of digital items, has led to an outcry within the ecosystem.

Many startup founders, most notably Paytm’s Sharma, have been alleging that Google’s bundling of companies on its Android OS after which monetising its scale was a “monopoly risk.” In a latest interview with ET, Sharma accused Google of performing as “over and above the government”.

Meanwhile, Google has maintained that its enforcement of insurance policies in India was according to world requirements for safe buyer practices. The tech large’s vice chairman for product administration, Sameer Samat, informed ET earlier this month that the corporate would defer the enforcement of its new commission-based billing coverage in India until no less than April 2022 to verify startups weren’t “unduly stressed.”

Google added that it had arrange “listening sessions” with main Indian startups to grasp their considerations extra deeply. Google additionally claims that its new billing coverage would affect solely 3% of the apps on Play Store.

The improvement additionally comes at a time when the ‘Big Tech’ firms — Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon — are going through probes world wide with the rising dominance of them on the Internet is worrying governments and regulators.


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