“While the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.” – Andrew Carneige
The tussle between Epic games and Google started way back in the U.S., wherein the biggest gaming giant on August 2020, approached the US courts with the allegation that Google was following anti-competitive practices by imposing 30% commission on in-app purchases. Epic Company also challenged Apple Inc. in the United States over their app-store policies. As result, iPhone had to make changes in its policies.
Now the Gaming giant has taken the matters to the Indian courts where they have alleged that Google is violating the antitrust regulations of India and are continuing the practices on which they were fined earlier by the competition regulators. Google is not hosting the gaming company’s app store on Google’s Play store app.
In October last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) passed two orders which imposed fines as well as required Google to make a slew of changes to its Play Store and Billing policies.
In the verdicts on October 20 and October 25, the CCI imposed a Rupees 1,337.76 crore fine on Google for “abusing” its dominant position in multiple markets through Android, and a penalty of Rupees 936.44 crore for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policy, respectively. Google agreed to follow the order and said that they will make changes accordingly which would include stopping the practice of forcing the makers to bundle Google applications.
Later on, Google challenged the Decision of CCI and approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). The tribunal also upheld the decision of CCI. After that Google went on to appeal to Supreme Court, which also refused to grant any interim relief to it and instead advised them to approach the tribunal again.
Apart from Epic Games other parties like MapmyIndia and OSlabs Technology India Pvt. Ltd has also put allegations against Google for not following the order of the CCI verdict even when the Apex Court has put deadlines.
Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 provides for the prohibition of abuse of dominant position. It is worthwhile to note that the legislation is drafted in a way which does not penalize dominance in a market, but only its abuse. The dominant position can be determined in the context of the relevant market and on the basis of any of the thirteen factors enlisted under clauses (a) to (m) of section 19(4) of the Act.