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Google’s message to ‘warring’ app developers in India

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Google

firmly believes “Android and Google Play have helped India transform into an app-first digital economy providing millions of mobile users unprecedented choice and boosting India’s innovative startup and developer sectors.” It is something the company recently said in a blog post. Yet, the

Play Store

had become a bone of contention between some big

app developers

in India and Google.

A few Indian startups — represented by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) — had complained to the

Competition Commission of India

about the Google ‘tax’. The developers complained that Google charged 11-26% commission on any

in-app purchases

made by users. Google went to the

Supreme Court

and the apex body ruled in its favour dealing a blow to the app developers.
In October 2022, the CCI imposed a Rs 936.44 crore fine and asked not to restrict developers from using third-party billing services. Furthermore,Google was told not to delist any of the developers or have discriminatory conditions.
Armed with an important victory, Google is now making it clear to developers that they have to follow the Play Store’s rules and regulations. “After giving these developers more than three years to prepare, including three weeks after the Supreme Court’s order, we are taking necessary steps to ensure our policies are applied consistently across the ecosystem, as we do for any form of policy violation globally,” said Google in a blog post.

Google also said that enforcement of its policy, when necessary, can include removal of non-compliant apps from Google Play. “Developers are welcome to resubmit their apps to be listed on Play by electing any one of these three billing options as part of our Payments Policy,” said the company.
Google said that 10 companies, including many well-established ones, “have chosen to not pay for the immense value they receive on Google Play by securing interim protections from court.”

The tech giant also said that only 3% of developers in India sell digital goods or services and therefore need to pay a service fee, the vast majority of whom pay 15 percent or less – the lowest of any major global app store. “In fact, in India, less than 60 developers on Google Play are subject to fees above 15 percent,” said Google
“While we always try to work with developers to help them through our policies and find feasible solutions, allowing this small group of developers to get differential treatment from the vast majority of developers who are paying their fair share creates an uneven playing field across the ecosystem and puts all other apps and games at a competitive disadvantage,” argued Google.

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