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Google's move to make app makers use its new billing system faces backlash

Google now requires all in-app payments to go via its payment gateway under the new billing policy

Google

Photo: Bloomberg

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Google is asking Indian app makers to use its Google Play Billing System (GPBS) in regions outside India, or their apps would be delisted from the Google Play Store in 14 days, according to a report in Economic Times.

Anupam Mittal, the founder of Shaadi.com's parent business, People Group took to Twitter and said, “Received a call from @Google today mandating their payments for Indian developers in continued violation & disregard of @CCI_India orders & Indian laws. Neo-colonialism at its worst! Hope the media, courts & @PMOIndia are taking note … the Digital East India Co is here”.


 
Following an adverse order from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Google replaced GPBS with the User Choice Billing (UCB) system in India. Google now requires all in-app payments to go via its payment gateway under GPBS, and the firm charges a 30 per cent commission on such purchases.

Other payment options, such as cards, net banking, UPI, wallets, etc, will be available under UCB, which is expected to be introduced on April 26, but would incur a commission of 11-26 per cent.

Highlighting the same issue, Rohan Verma, chief executive of MapmyIndia, said, “Terrible! Everyone needs to stand up for India and Indians and stop this foreign colonial domination and destruction of the domestic economy and indigenous rights”.



Meanwhile, Google has yet to reply to the development.

 'Violating the spirit of CCI judgement'

In an interview with the ET, Anupam Mittal of People Group, said that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has "put it in clear words that Google cannot mandate any billing system," referring to the antitrust watchdog's October order requiring Google to make changes to the way its Android mobile operating system operates.

“Specifically, the order might talk about the GPBS, but it covered any position where Google mandatorily applied any billing system. Now, they have said that while in India GPBS cannot be implemented, overseas, Indian developers will have to comply with it. So, any Indian developer’s app being used in the UK, for example, will have to pay that commission as per GBPS. Even the CCI order talks about Indian developers, not just the Indian territory,” he said.

“With this, they are fundamentally violating the spirit of the judgment. They called and said today that in two weeks they would remove many Indian apps globally from app stores if they did not comply internationally,” Mittal told ET.

Startups vs Google case in Delhi High Court

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), an industry body representing Indian startups such as MapmyIndia, Paytm, Matrimony, and TrulyMadly, has also petitioned the Delhi High Court for an order directing the CCI to intervene in Google's implementation of the UCB system beginning April 26.

The ADIF said that by implementing the UCB policy, Google was engaging in anti-competitive behaviour, and that it was taking advantage of the CCI's lack of quorum to investigate the industry body's concerns against the tech giant.

The Delhi High Court heard the arguments and has reserved its decision.

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First Published: Apr 21 2023 | 12:57 PM IST

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