Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday rejected a complaint against internet major Google with respect to Google Meet, saying that consumers are at free will to use either Meet or any other app for video conferencing.
The complaint was filed by an individual against Google LLC and Google India Digital Services. It was alleged that Google is a dominant player in the internet-related services and products, and that it has integrated the Meet app into the Gmail app which amounts to abuse of dominant position.
To assess the complaint, the regulator considered the 'market for providing email services in India' and the 'market for providing specialised video conferencing services in India' as the relevant ones. In a 10-page order, the watchdog said that in relation to the allegations of leveraging, the users of Gmail are not forced to necessarily use Google Meet.
Also, there does not appear to be any adverse consequences on the users of Gmail for not using Google Meet, such as withdrawal of Gmail or any of its functionalities or other services that are so far being provided by Google. A Gmail user at his/ her 'free will' can use any of the competing VC apps, it noted. According to the order, anyone with a Google Account, not necessarily a Gmail user, can create an online meeting using Google Meet.
"Further, for creating a Google account, the user need not be a user of Gmail. He/ she can use email ID created on any other platform for creating a Google account. Thus, Google Meet is available as an independent app outside the Gmail ecosystem also," the regulator said. Rejecting the complaint, CCI said that even though Meet tab has been incorporated in the Gmail app, Gmail does not coerce users to use Meet exclusively as submitted by Google and the consumers are also at freewill to use either Meet or any other VC app for video conferencing.