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Policy Wrap: Epic Games files complaint with the NCLAT against Google in India, Apple could face consequences in CCI probe regarding app store and billing practices, and more
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Gaming company Epic Games files complaint with the NCLAT, brings its fight with Google in US to India
Global gaming firm Epic Games has allegedly accused internet giant Google of disobeying Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s orders. The gaming giant has filed a formal complaint with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), as per news reports.
In their plea, Epic Games mentioned that Google of continuing to adopt measures for which CCI had penalised the company. In order to support the CCI's judgement on permitting third-party apps on the Google Play Store, Epic Games is attempting to join forces with Indian developers in court.
The gaming firm has accused Google of introducing a number of technological restrictions that make it challenging for customers to access other app stores and directly download mobile apps. These artificial obstacles have made it difficult for most users to discover such apps. According to Epic Games, both users and developers should be free to select how they access apps on their mobile devices, as this will allow for fair competition in the mobile app industry.
Epic Games had filed a lawsuit against Google in August 2020 in the US, alleging that the company was engaging in anti-competitive behaviour by charging a 30% commission for in-app sales. The case is still ongoing.
Apple Inc. had also been sued by the firm in the US on issues of competition and app store policy, forcing the iPhone manufacturer to amend some of its rules, such as permitting app developers to incorporate information about competing payment systems in their apps.
Apple treading a similar path regarding app store and billing practises as Google, could face consequences in CCI probe
As the Competition Commission of India (CCI) nears the end of its probe into the tech giant's app store and billing practises, Apple may experience a similar fate like Google. Like it did with Google, the CCI may also request that the iPhone manufacturer alter its app store commission and billing procedures.
After claims of "excessive" commission fees the company levies and a dearth of third-party payment choices made by the not-for-profit organisation ‘Together We Fight Society’, the competition authorities started an investigation against Apple's business practises in India in December 2021.
In its order, the CCI stated that it had formed the preliminary opinion that Apple had violated the Competition Act, which deals with a firm abusing its dominant position. Also, it instructed the Director General to launch an inquiry into the business.
According to the CCI, the requirement that paid apps and in-app transactions be made via Apple's in-app payment solution, restricts the choices open to app developers to select a payment processing system of their choice.
The business might be obliged to lower the developer commission it charges and offer third-party billing choices. Google was the subject of a comparable CCI inquiry into the required usage of the Play Store's payment system for premium apps and in-app purchases. The tech giant was fined Rs 936.44 crore by the CCI on October 25, 2022, for abusing its dominating position in the Android market. CCI also directed that Google modify its policies in the judgement.
Central act a need of the hour to regulate online gaming and gambling: Ashwini Vaishnaw
Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, emphasised that legislation governing online gaming and gambling have been passed in 19 Indian states and union territories. These laws are designed to stop any illegal activity and protect consumers from harm.
The minister emphasised the necessity of a national law to control gambling and internet gaming in the nation. He claimed that the existing situation, in which several jurisdictions have their own regulations, is confusing and necessitates the adoption of a single law to govern the sector.
The significance of coming to an agreement with all parties involved in order to put a central act in place is the need of the hour. This will guarantee the sector's legality and create a level playing field for all market participants.
India on-track to play a pivotal role in global digital economy; 13 countries ready to adopt UPI
By spreading digital awareness among people and building global digital infrastructure, India is poised to take the lead in digitising the world economy. The recently held G-20-affiliated Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) conference was primarily concerned with expanding global digital public infrastructure, cyber security, the digital economy, and digital training. Now valued at $11 trillion, the global digital economy is expected to grow to $23 trillion by 2025. India's digital government services and payments are receiving accolades and attention from all across the world.
Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister of telecom, electronics, and information technology, announced that 13 nations have consented to join India's UPI (Unified Payment Interface) payment system, and that Singapore will soon begin accepting UPI payments.
In contrast to India, Vaishnav continued, the digital environment in other nations is monopolised by a small number of businesses. The digital ecosystem is accessible to everyone only in India.
e-Rupi voucher limit increased, could be beneficial in promoting offline digital payments
According to experts, raising the limit on e-Rupi vouchers to one lakh rupees will encourage digital payments made offline and enable direct benefit transfers without a bank account.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) upped the maximum limit on e-Rupi vouchers issued by the government on Thursday from 10,000 to 1 lakh and permitted repeated uses of a single ticket up until it was fully redeemed.
e-Rupi vouchers, which were introduced in August 2021 as a cashless payment option, lets customers spend them at specific retailers without a card, a digital wallet, or online banking access.
This move would make sure that beneficiaries of central and state government schemes receive their rewards in a better digital format. Thus, it is anticipated to have a significant impact on enhancing direct benefit transfer (DBT) to citizens in the last mile and increasing its transparency.
Beneficiaries of e-Rupi do not need to have bank accounts, in contrast to other digital payment types.
Its compatibility with basic phones, ability to be used by those without smartphones or in locations without internet access, and promotion of offline payments are just some of its benefits.
RBI encourages stakeholders to share opinions regarding policy announcements: Governor Shaktikanta Das
Shaktikanta Das, governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), stated on Saturday that there will always be some level of advance consultation with stakeholders before the central bank adopts a policy or makes an announcement.
"Even in the last Monetary Policy Committee statement, a pronouncement relating to penal interest was made according to Governor Shaktikanta Das. He claimed that RBI also made a draft circular notification there.
He stated that they are delaying the release of the final circular because they would want to hear from the stakeholders, including the banks, regulated businesses, and other participants in the financial system.
He said that after the publication of a circular, the necessity for policy correction and amendment will be greatly less.
The Governor stated that the RBI has already sought advice in a significant number of situations.
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