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Google to take action against 'non-compliant apps' from 10 Indian developers

Google is offering another chance for the developers to resubmit their apps to be listed on Play by selecting any one of its three billing options.
ohit KVN
Last Updated : 01 March 2024, 06:16 IST
Last Updated : 01 March 2024, 06:16 IST

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Google on Friday (March 1) announced punitive actions against 10 Indian app companies for not complying with Play Store policy.

Without naming them, the search engine giant claimed that the companies including prominent ones, despite offering extended deadlines, chose not to pay fees to the Play Store.

The non-compliant apps from 10 developers will soon be delisted from the Google Play Store. One of the affected include Bharat Matrimony, which publishes apps such as Christian Matrimony, Muslim Matrimony and Jodii on Play store.

This move comes just days after PhonePe launched the Indus App Store offering a free digital marketplace for app developers to expand their reach to a wider audience in India.

For the last few years (soon after the Covid-19 pandemic), app developers have contested that Google's gatekeeping fees and extra commissions on in-app purchases made by customers, were exorbitant.

But Google refuted the accusations of exploitation and said it charges the lowest fees on app developers.

"Our tiered pricing programs benefit Indian developers: 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," the company said.

A group of Indian developers had approached the Supreme Court to restrain Google from delisting their apps from the Play Store.

But on February 9, the SC bench consisting of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justices Manoj Misra and Satish Chandra Sharma refused to put any stay order on Google from taking action against non-complying app companies.

Three weeks after the judgement, Google has now decided to remove the apps.

However, it will allow the apps to function, which are already installed on Android phones. It is just that non-complying apps will not be available for new phone users.

And, Google is offering another chance for the developers to resubmit their apps to be listed on Play Store by selecting any one of the three billing options below.

1) Agree to a consumption-only basis without paying a service fee, even if it is part of a paid service

2) Integrate Google Play’s billing system

3) Offer an alternative billing system alongside Google Play for users in India

"Our commitment to investing in India’s digital future remains unwavering and our continued investments to bring the highest available standard of technology to the ecosystem are testimony to our commitment. We look forward to continuing our work with the entire ecosystem to ensure the long-term viability of these efforts in India," the company said.

Four of the affected parties are members of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and have received notices from Google.

IAMAI has advised Google to exercise restrain from taking any coercive action during the pendency of the case.

The Apex court is slated to hear the petition filed by Indian companies against Google's punitive action on March 19.

PhonePe's Indus Appstore, which houses two lakh plus apps, received good response in India. Within three days of launch, it has registered more than one lakh app installations.

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Published 01 March 2024, 06:16 IST

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