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HC gives Matrimony.com breather in legal fight with Google over billing

Tech giant asked not to remove matchmaking firm's app from Play Store till June 1

Madras High Court

Madras High Court. photo: wikimedia.org

Shine Jacob Chennai

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The Madras High Court has asked Google not to remove Matrimony.com’s app from Play Store, giving temporary relief to the matchmaking website in its legal battle with the technology giant over a new in-app billing system.

The court, in an interim injunction, asked Google not to remove the app till June 1. According to Chennai-based Matrimony.com, Google has made the Play Billing System mandatory and sole option for payments for app developers and imposing a fee of 15-30 per cent depending upon the annual revenue of app developers.

Matrimony.com, India’s largest online match making company, approached the High Court against Google with the main contention that the US company’s payment policy violates the law and imposing 11-26 per cent fee on revenue will cause hardship and irreparable loss to all the App developers.

“It is a great relief and the fee structure proposed by Google is a death knell to Indian start-ups. Google is forcing app developers to agree to its payment policy of charging a service fee at the rate of 11 per cent and 26 per cent even with respect to the payments made by customers through its new users’ choice /alternate billing system without providing any services at all,” said Murugavel Janakiraman, chief executive officer of Matrimony.com.

"Google is trying to circumvent the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order which directed Google not to restrict app developers from using third party billing or payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing an app,” he said.

Prior to this, app developers had to use Google Play Billing System (GPBS) for all transactions, including paid app downloads and in-app purchases with a commission of around 15-30 per cent. However, as per the new billing system, though users can opt for third-party billing options,  a service fee of 11-26 per cent was imposed on them.

“Google forcing App Developers to use alternative billing system or user choice billing along with its billing system and terming it as a new policy and charging App developers ridiculously high on the revenue is unconscionable and not acceptable. We will continue to fight legally until Google stops its monopoly behaviour of taxing Indian startups,” said Janakiraman.

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First Published: Apr 27 2023 | 2:30 PM IST

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