Top startups in India have urged the country’s competition watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), to investigate Google for allegedly sidestepping an antitrust directive by imposing a high service fee for in-app payments, according to a filing from the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF). Google’s move to charge a service fee on third-party payment processor transactions has “detrimental consequences for users and app developers”, ADIF said in the 15-page complaint from March. Google, which declined to comment, has previously said the service fee funds investments in Google Play and Android.
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Last October, the CCI fined Google $113m and ordered it to permit third-party billing and cease obliging developers to use its in-app payment system, which charges a commission of between 15% and 30%. In response, Google launched User Choice Billing for allowing alternative payments alongside its own, but ADIF alleges that the new system imposes a “service fee”. ADIF, which represents Indian startups including Paytm and ShareChat, claims Google is using the service fee system to bypass the antitrust directive.