Google has been hit with a $113 million fine by the Competition Commission of India for restricting third-party payments for app purchases or in-app payments, the commission said in a press release Tuesday.
This is the second fine for Google by India in less than a week. The first, for $162 million, was over India's concern that Google favored its own apps on Android.
The commission said Google forces app developers to exclusively use its Google Play billing system. App developers also can't direct people to a separate webpage with alternative payment methods. This compels app developers to use Google's billing system or be forced off the Play Store, the commission said, calling the practice "one sided and arbitrary and devoid of any legitimate business interest." It also noted that Google's massively popular YouTube video site doesn't use the Google Play billing system.
India ordered Google to not restrict app developers from using third-party billing systems. Google also can't use user data gathered by Google Play billing to "further its competitive advantage," the commission said.
Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Google's business has grown for years, expanding from search to other massive businesses like Gmail, Google Maps, Android and YouTube that millions of us use. But now it's running into trouble as lawmakers, regulators and others around the world increasingly scrutinize and challenge its dominance.
Google faces a major lawsuit in the US over payment practices on the Play Store. Epic Games, creator of the popular Fortnite game, has been in a lengthy battle with Google over allowing in-app payments for its titles. Recently, Epic Games accused Google of destroying evidence in the lawsuit. Fortnite currently isn't available on the Play Store and must be downloaded from an external site.
The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in 2020 and is reportedly planning on filing a second later this year. Both Washington state and Washington D.C. are suing Google for allegedly tracking customer location information.
The Republican National Committee sued Google in October, alleging that it sends campaign emails to spam folders. In Europe, a court upheld a record $4 billion fine over antitrust violations. South Korea fined Google $177 million in 2021 for making manufacturers sign "anti-fragmentation agreements" that barred companies like LG and Samsung from using rival operating systems.