Google Says in Compliance With CCI Order Regarding Play Store’s Payments Policy

Google on Wednesday said its Google Play‘s payments policy is compliant with the anti-trust watchdog CCI‘s order and it is pushing ahead with plans to enforce the policy in the country.

“In 2020, we clarified the requirements of our payments policy, and developers in India have had considerable time to make the necessary changes to their apps,” it said in a blog post. “We’re respectfully following the CCI’s October 2022 order, and in compliance with that order, we expanded user choice billing to all developers in India and updated our policy that went into effect starting April 26, 2023.” Google said as the deadline of April 26 had now passed, it would be taking “necessary steps” to get developers to implement one of the billing options it offers.

Three routes are available for app developers — using Google Play’s billing system, an alternative billing system called the user choice billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system for users in India and operating on a consumption-only basis without paying a service fee, even if it is part of a paid service.

Google said it continued to “comply with local laws and cooperate with local proceedings, as applicable”. Applying a service fee is a “sensible model as the platform only makes money when a developer makes money, so our success is aligned with theirs”, it said.

It said the service fee it accrues from developers allows it to fund the large investments it has made for the growth of India’s app ecosystem. The company insisted that its fees — 15 percent of lower for most developers — is the lowest of any major app store and a 4 percent reduction in that fee for those who implement an alternative billing system “fairly reflects that Google Play‘s billing system has not been used.

Less than 60 of the over 2,00,000 Indian developers on Google Play currently could pay a service fee of above 15 percent, Google said, citing its own estimations.

The Competition Commission of India in October slapped a fine on Google and directed the Android maker to give developers the choice of using third-party billing systems in the country.

“Most developers globally have already elected one of these routes. In India, now that the deadline has passed, we are informing developers in the country who have not yet implemented one of these options that we will be taking necessary steps to ensure our policy is applied fairly. We continue to comply with local laws and cooperate with local proceedings, as applicable,” Google said.           

Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant repeatedly tell us that it cares about AI, alongside the launch of its first foldable phone and Pixel-branded tablet. This year, the company is going to supercharge its apps, services, and Android operating system with AI technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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