Madras HC dismisses appeals filed by mobile app companies against Google's New Billing System

Read Time: 04 minutes


Court, however, extended the interim protection granted to mobile app owners for three weeks against delisting

The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed the civil appeals filed by mobile app companies contesting a single judge bench's order which had dismissed their petition challenging Google's new user choice billing system.

The matter relates to the service fees imposed on startups utilizing Google Play to showcase their Android applications providing digital goods or services to users.

The division bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu also rejected a cross-appeal filed by Google and extended the interim protection granted to mobile app owners from getting their apps delisted from the Google Play store for a further three weeks, which will allow them to pursue appeals before the Supreme Court, if any.

Before the single judge bench, the Indian startups had submitted that in 2020, Google enforced the compulsory and exclusive utilization of the Google Play Billing System (GPBS) for handling payments related to the download of paid apps and In-App Purchases.

On October 25, 2022, the CCI issued an order instructing Google to refrain from imposing limitations on app developers in utilizing third-party billing or payment processing services, startups had stated.

However, they alleged that subsequent to the CCI order, Google, in an effort to work around it, authorized app developers to employ the "Alternative Billing System/User Choice Billing" alongside and in addition to the GPBS.

The companies claimed that Google was trying to benefit from its monopoly in the Android market and compelling app developers to agree to its payment policy.

However, in August last year, the single judge bench held that the jurisdiction for this matter lay with the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Court also highlighted that the remedies available under the Competition Act were much more comprehensive than those available before a civil court. Against the single judge bench's decision, the mobile app companies moved appeals.

Case Title: Info Edge (India) Ltd. v Google India Ltd and Others along with connected matters