Leading startups in the country gathered under one roof to brainstorm on the implications of Google’s User Choice Billing system, saying the tech giant’s non-compliance with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) orders will only harm the startup ecosystem in the country.
Attended by startups like Matrimony.com, TrulyMadly, Paytm, Shaadi.com and others, the meeting, under the aegis of the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), on Monday deliberated upon the way forward in response to the Google’s recent announcement of reducing the Google Play service fee by just 4 per cent.
Thus, despite not using any service from Google, app developers will be forced to pay commissions (11-26 per cent) to Google.
The startup community agreed that Google’s non-compliance will impact the Bharatiya startup ecosystem negatively.
“The Google policy is another blatant attempt to violate the decision of the CCI and we are in the process of exploring all avenues to challenge the said policy as being in violation of the CCI order and Competition Act,” said an ADIF spokesperson.
Google recently changed its billing requirement for app developers wherein it has mentioned that if a user pays through an alternate billing system, the Google plays service fee will be reduced by 4 per cent.
While an alternative billing system will be permitted by Google, it will continue charging service fees from the developers which will be 4 per cent less than the normal service which it would charge if the user had availed of Google Play’s Billing System (GPBS) option – meaning the commission rate under user choice would be 11 per cent or 26 per cent, as the case may be, according to the ADIF.
“Therefore, despite not using any service from Google, app developers will be forced to pay commissions to Google,” it had said in an earlier statement.
The change claimed by Google is in response to regulatory developments in Bharat, which refers to the CCI orders.
The CCI in October last year imposed a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on Google for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies, apart from issuing a cease-and-desist order. The Commission also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea by Google seeking modification of the court’s January 19 order, and asked the tech giant to raise its objections before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
In January, the apex court had declined to entertain a plea by Google challenging an NCLAT order, which refused to stay operation of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) order imposing Rs 1,337.76 crore fine on the tech giant.
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