Google puts off policy to charge Play Store commission till April 2022

Its decision follows adverse reactions from Indian app developers, entrepreneurs

Google continues to be an undisputed leader in a majority of the categories it operates in | Representative photo: iStock

In the face of a backlash over its decision to force app developers on Play Store to mandatorily use its billing system, Google has pushed back the deadline to March 31, 2022.

Last week, Google had announced new rules that require app developers, distributing Android software on the Google Play Store, to use its in-app payment system. Google had then set the deadline at September 2021.

The new move comes after an uproar by various Indian entrepreneurs and app developers about the change that the search giant announced last week. That update aimed to make it mandatory for all apps available via Google Play to implement the Play billing system and offer the commission to Google for their in-app purchases.

Unlike the earlier enforcement of in-app commission that is still in place for global developers and comes with a deadline of September 30, 2021, Google has given the additional time specifically to Indian app developers. It is “to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription option that will be made available on Google Play – for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system”, it said in a blog post.

Google is also setting up “listening sessions with leading Indian startups” to understand their concerns. Besides, it is planning policy workshops to offer clarity on its Play Store policies.

“We consider it extremely important to understand the concerns across the ecosystem, and these listening sessions over the next several weeks will help us find comprehensive solutions that work for everyone,” the company noted.

Related news: It is time Apple and Google stores are regulated

Last week, Google said that over 97 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play had already complied with the policy of giving the in-app commission by using its native billing system. That was meant to stress that the enforcement of the commission would impact less than three per cent of developers offering apps on Google Play.

Entrepreneurs such as Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and GOQii’s Vishal Gondal started discussing the alternative to Google Play. Some Indian app developers also protested the in-app commission which has been around for quite some time but is yet to be implemented as a default condition for all apps listed on Google Play offering in-app purchases.

Google stated in its previous announcement that new apps must use the Play billing system by January 20, while existing apps were given time until September 30, 2021.

The decision followed lawsuits by Fornite maker Epic Games which accused Google and Apple of anti-competition behaviour. Apps such as Netflix, Match, and Spotify are among the ones that do not use Google’s billing system to avoid paying the in-app commission.

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