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Google to Take Action Against 10 Indian App Developers Over Play Store Fee Non-Payment

Google said that the enforcement of its policy can include the removal of non-compliant apps from Google Play.

Google to Take Action Against 10 Indian App Developers Over Play Store Fee Non-Payment

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Pawel Czerwinski

Google said it is taking action to not give the group of developers preferential treatment over others

  • Google said more than 2,00,000 Indian developers use Google Play
  • Reportedly, Google might start removing the 10 apps soon
  • A group of Indian developers filed petitions against Google’s policies

Google, on Friday, March 1, said it would enforce action against a group of Indian app developers as they had not complied with the Play Store's billing policies. The Alphabet-owned company claimed that ten Indian app developers, which include “many well-established” companies, have failed to pay the Play Store fee for availing its services, and now may get removed from the Android app marketplace as a result of it. The tech giant also highlighted it was taking measures to not give differential treatment from the majority of its developer base who have been paying their share.

According to a report by TechCrunch, a group of Indian companies had filed petitions to the Madras High Court challenging Google's Play Store billing policies, arguing that the tech giant charges a very steep amount as a fee for its services. The crux of the issue lies in the fact that the tech giant levies between 11 percent to 26 percent as a service fee per download of a paid app as well as on purchases made in-app.

The group reportedly includes Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Unacademy, Kuku FM, Info Edge, and more. While the High Court dismissed the appeal, the Supreme Court of India agreed to hear pleas filed by the firms, as per a report by NDTV Profit. The Supreme Court, however, refused to give any interim order to Google to not delist the companies' apps from the Play Store.

Later, the group of app developers wrote to Google requesting it to not delist the apps till March 19, when the Special Leave Petition (SPL) would be heard by the Supreme Court, reported The Economic Times. However, it now appears that Google has decided not to listen to the pleas and instead begin taking action against the non-paying developers.

In a post, Google acknowledged the Supreme Court's decision to not request the tech giant to keep the apps on the platform. It stated, “For years, no court or regulator has denied Google Play's right to charge for the value and services we provide. On 9 February, the Supreme Court also refused to interfere with our right to do so. While some of the developers that were refused interim protection have started fairly participating in our business model and ecosystem, others choose to find ways to not do so.” Additionally, it stated that only 60 developers in India were charged a fee above 15 percent.

Further, the Android platform developer highlighted that not taking action would be unfair to more than 2 lakh Indian developers who have been complying with its billing policy. “After giving these developers more than three years to prepare, including three weeks after the Supreme Court's order, we are taking necessary steps to ensure our policies are applied consistently across the ecosystem, as we do for any form of policy violation globally,” Google added.

The TechCrunch report mentioned, citing unnamed sources, that the tech giant will begin removing a few of these apps from its marketplace starting Friday. We, at Gadgets 360, found that the matrimony app Shaadi by Shaadi.com and Jodii by Matrimony.com, the content streaming platform by Alt Balaji Altt, and the dating app QuackQuack have already been removed from the platform and the search result shows the icon of the app and its name with the message “This app isn't available”.

Removal from the platform is not the end, however. Google stated that developers can resubmit their apps to be listed on the Play Store by adhering to the payment policy, and likely clearing their dues. Alternatively, a favourable decision by the Supreme Court after March 19 could result in Google being ordered to revise its billing policy.

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Further reading: Google, Play Store, Google Play Store, Apps
Akash Dutta
Akash Dutta is a Senior Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He is particularly interested in the social impact of technological developments and loves reading about emerging fields such as AI, metaverse, and fediverse. In his free time, he can be seen supporting his favourite football club - Chelsea, watching movies and anime, and sharing passionate opinions on food. More
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