Alphabet-owned Google accused 10 Indian companies of not paying its Play charges levied on developers selling in-app digital goods. 
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Alphabet-owned Google on Friday accused 10 Indian companies of not paying its Play charges levied on developers selling in-app digital goods.

Though Google did not name the companies or the apps, it accused them of not paying for the “immense value” they receive on Google Play. This, according to Google, has allowed this small group of developers to get differential treatment, creating an “uneven playing field across the ecosystem”, the company said in a blog post.

Google further said the Supreme Court of India also refused to interfere with its right to charge a fee on its app store. And that while some developers who were refused interim protection have started participating in its business model, others have chosen to find a way not to do so.

Google says it has given these developers more than three years to prepare, including three weeks after the SC order, and will take necessary steps including removal of non-compliant apps from Google Play.

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Developers will have the option to resubmit their apps on Play by opting for one of three billing options. These include operating on a consumption-only basis where developers can allow users to access content by paying for it outside the app. Integrate Google Play’s billing system or make use of alternative billing systems..

In the meantime, the company says developers can continue to operate on Android by distributing their apps through alternative Android app stores or directly via their websites.

Google currently charges a service fee when developers sell in-app digital goods. The company said that only 3% of developers in India sell digital goods or services and therefore need to pay a service fee, the vast majority of whom pay 15% or less. According to Google, in India, less than 60 developers on Google Play are subject to fees above 15%.

Earlier in 2023, the company had threatened action against developers who did not comply with its billing policies on Plat Store.

Google’s Play Store billing policies have faced much debate in India, including a case at the Competition Commission of India. The CCI had at the time directed Google to allow third-party payment systems for apps being distributed through the Play Store. Following this the company had given developers time till 26 April to comply with its app store policies.

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