Google finds itself in the crosshairs of the Indonesian antitrust agency. More specifically, the KPPU wants to ensure Google did not violate anti-monopoly laws through its app payments. A thorough analysis of the Google Play Store should shed light on the situation.
Google Dominance May Backfire
Indonesia finds itself in the same position as most other countries: Google dominates the digital economy. In this country, it has a 93% market share, thanks to a growing number of mobile app developers relying on Google software. However, the tech giant charges a fee of up to 30% for all purchases made via apps built with Google’s services and software. Applications that do not comply are forcibly removed from the Google Play Store.
The KPPU wants to look closely at Google’s operations in Indonesia. Moreover, they suspect the tech giant has abused its dominant position for some time. That would lead to discriminatory domestic digital application distribution practices and potentially violate conditional sales. A 60-day investigation window is in effect, although it remains unclear if the KPPU can conclude its investigation quickly.
Unfortunately for Google, this new investigation is the latest in a long line of similar concerns. Authorities have targeted the tech giant for fraudulent activities in recent years. The EU fined Google over $8 billion for its market practices, and South Korean legislation prevents app store operators from forcing developers to use their payment systems. Moreover, there are ongoing calls to revamp the commission fees and bring them to more acceptable levels.
However, one must also consider the tech giant provides access to tools and its platforms to the public for free. It would not be a big stretch for them to make the Google Play Store a paid subscription to access, on top of paying for applications and other subscriptions. Whether Google would ever go that far is uncertain, as it would drive more people to alternative solutions. App stores like APKPure have grown in popularity, although that doesn’t change the reliance on Google services for developers.