JAKARTA: The Indonesian government has launched an anti-trust investigation into Google over the tech firm’s insistence that its payment system be used for purchases from its app store, authorities said on Thursday, accusing it of unfair business practices.

The US internet giant has been under legal scrutiny in a number of countries over its stipulation that its billing system be used by all buyers on Google Play.

Authorities in Jakarta said in a statement they suspected “Google has abused its dominant position by imposing conditional sales and discriminatory practices in digital application distribution in Indonesia”.

Google Play is the largest app distribution platform in Indonesia, a country of around 270 million people.

Third-party developers offering their apps on Google Play are charged a 15 to 30 percent service fee, higher than the five percent imposed by other payment systems, according to an initial probe by the nation’s anti-trust agency.

“The respective developers cannot refuse the obligation because Google can impose sanctions by removing their applications from the Google Play store and preventing them from making updates to their applications,” the agency said.

Google Indonesia said on Friday that it would work with the Indonesian authorities “to demonstrate how Google Play supports developers”.

It added that since early this month, it has started a pilot billing system, allowing an alternative payment system alongside the one used on Google Play.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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