Google heeds apps’ backlash; extends Play Store billing policy deadline to March 2022

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Updated: October 05, 2020 12:48 PM

The announcement comes days after around 100 founders of leading startups such as Paytm, GOQII, Sharechat, MakeMyTrip, Innov8, Ixigo, Toppr etc., in India had informally come together to lobby against the alleged monopolistic move by Google.

In January, Google had said that Joker was among the most persistent malware threatening its users.Google had last week set September 30, 2021, as the deadline for developers to comply with its existing billing policy.

Amid raging concerns from the startup ecosystem over Google’s alleged unfair Play Store billing policy to charge 30 per cent in-app commission and enforcing use of its Google Play billing system, the search giant has stepped back for a while. Google, which had set September 30, 2021, last week as the deadline for developers to comply with its existing billing policy, on Monday announced extension till March 31, 2022. The announcement comes days after around 100 leading startup founders in India had informally come together to lobby against the alleged monopolistic move by Google.

Announcing the development on a company blog post, Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play said that Google is “extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system, to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play — for all apps that are yet to launch, or that currently use an alternative payment system.”

In order to douse concerns among Indian app developers, Kochikar added that the company is setting up ‘listening sessions’ with startups to understand their concerns more deeply and will also set-up “policy workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies.”

The 30 per cent commission, however, for Google was existing from quite a few years but finally enforced now. “Our payments policy is not new — it is our global business model and policy, and we have always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods. In fact more than 97 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play already comply with the policy,” added Kochikar.

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Google’s Vice President for Product Management, Sameer Samat in a blog last week had noted that “less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play’s billing.”

Meanwhile, Paytm also announced on Monday that it has launched its Android Mini App Store to back Indian developers — a move seen in retaliation to Google. However, importantly, Paytm seemed to have the Mini App Store from quite some time.

Comments from Paytm seeking clarity on today’s launch will be updated as and when shared.

Basically, these mini apps are mobile websites and would be listed and distributed on Paytm itself. Paytm said it won’t charge developers for the service while providing Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank, UPI, net-banking and cards as payment options for developers to offer to their users. Paytm’s rival PhonePe already runs similar service called Switch listing mobile websites such as Ola, redBus, Goibibo, Myntra, Delhi Metro, Grofers and more. Google too had launched its Spot platform in India in 2019 to set-up their branded commercial fronts on Google Pay app.

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