Google Warns Noncompliant App Developers In India In Fee Dispute

Google said it will crack down on companies in India that have not complied with its app billing policy, even as Sundar Pichai is helping to develop technological advancements in his country of origin.

The move marks the latest dispute in the ongoing conflict between Google and local internet companies in India.

The dispute centers on Google's app billing policy, which has been a point of contention worldwide. Despite being given more than three years to comply, including a grace period after a Supreme Court order, some developers have continued to resist integrating Google's billing system or opting for one of the alternatives.

"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 wrote in a blog post. 



Developers in India in the Google Play and the Android and Play ecosystem collectively supported more than 2.5 million jobs in 2022, according to Google, which cites investments it made in platforms, tools, and resources that have enabled developers to thrive. 

In order to sustain efforts, Google Play charges a service fee when developers sell in-app digital goods.

Ten companies in the country -- including “many well-established” names that Google did not disclose -- had avoided paying fees despite benefiting from the platform. One news outlet in India points to streaming platforms Altt, Stage, and Aha, among others.

Google said a small group of developers in India had more than three years to prepare and comply with PlayStore’s payments policy, but did not. 

Android handsets in India hold about 95% of the smartphone market, which concerns the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a think-tank representing startups in the country.

It called the action of delisting the app developers disappointing, and that it seemed as if Google had tried to intimidate developers into complying.

Google has seen many types of payment challenges worldwide. In Europe, the company began to allow developers of non-gaming apps to offer European users alternate payment systems.

In a blog post, Google outlines its plans to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a legislation aimed at regulating large technology companies.



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