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Google defers Indian in-app fees after start-ups’ complaints

Google defers Indian in-app fees after angry startups complain

Google defers Indian in-app fees after angry start-ups complain.

Alphabet Inc’s Google has moved it deadline for Indian app developers to follow through with a new billing system for commission fees by six months, it said on Monday, Some days after local startups voiced anger about the charges.

Google will now enforce it’s global policy more strictly and charge a 30% commission fee for in-app purchases from Indian developers from March 31, 2022, the company said, saying it was “being mindful of local needs and concerns”.

The move comes after many start-ups in India banded together to figure out ways to challenge the company by lodging complaints with the government and courts over the original deadline for compliance of Sept. 30 next year.

They were upset about the commission fee and also criticised several other Google Play Store policies for hurting their businesses.

“We do not succeed unless our partners succeed,” Google has stated in a blog post, adding that it will set up “listening sessions” with leading Indian startups to understand their issues.

Last week, Google slated the enforcement date for the new billing system at Sept. 30, 2021 and said only 3% of apps globally were non-compliant.

The dispute had started after Google briefly took down India’s top digital payments app Paytm for violation of certain Play Store policies last month, drawing sharp rebukes from the Softbank-backed Indian company’s founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, and several other entrepreneurs.

Over 99% of India’s half a billion smartphones run on Google’s Android mobile operating system.

“A deferment (of the fees) is just not enough,” said an Indian startup executive, who did not wish to be named. “The gatekeeper of the biggest application store should be fair and transparent.”

ET had reported earlier that more than 50 technology entrepreneurs were joining hands to petition the government for support to create an overarching Indian digital app ecosystem to counter what they view as the dominance of US technology giants Google and Apple. The government has responded positively to the demand and has said it’s “open” to launching an alternative. Following the concerns that have been raised, Google has decided to delay applying the fee, said Samat, who’s based at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. This has been communicated to the developers privately, he said.

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