Google App Store under antitrust investigation in Indonesia
Google is one of the largest internet companies in the world and there are only a few companies that can compete with it. Like other large technology companies, Google is usually at the hub of multiple investigations. According to reports, Indonesia’s antitrust regulator “Competition Authority” (KPPU) announced that it has launched an antitrust investigation into the Google Play Store app store. The reason for the investigation has links to he Play Store payment policy. There are reports that Google forces developers to use its proprietary payment system. The report claims that this act is unfair competition. It claims that Google is leveraging on its dominant position to suppress other payment options.
“We suspect that Google is abusing its dominant position in the Indonesian app distribution market by implementing conditional sales and discriminatory practices”,. KPPU said in a statement. KPPU also claims that a preliminary investigation found that since June 1 this year, Indonesian app developers are required to use Google’s payment system. This payment system charges a commission between 15% to 30%.
KPPU believes the fee is much higher than other services, which typically cost less than 5%. Also, if developers do not comply with Google’s request, their apps may be removed from the Google Play Store. According to KPPU data, Google controls 93% of the Indonesian app distribution market. As of now, there is no official comment from the company regarding this antitrust investigation
Google is not new to this antitrust investigation
In recent years, critics have accused Google and Apple of overcharging their mobile app stores. Data shows that developers collectively pay Apple as well as Google billions of dollars a year. This shows the monopoly power of the two companies.
In addition to Indonesia, many antitrust agencies around the world, including the European Union, have launched monopoly investigations on Google and Apple’s App Store. Google has previously said that the portion of the commission it charges developers helps keep Android free. Furthermore, it claims that the fee gives developers the tools and platform to serve billions of consumers around the world.
The KPPU’s investigation will run for 60 days. If Google is guilty, it could pay a fine of up to 50% of its net profit during the violation period.