Business Standard

8 of 10 delisted apps back on Play Store

- SURAJEET DAS GUPTA New Delhi, 3 March

Apps of eight of the 10 startups that were delisted from Google Play Store on Friday are now back on the platform, with the remaining two also in the process of their return — after they accepted a compromise formula offered by the US technology giant.

The relisted apps include, Jeevansath­,, and Bharat Matrimony.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union minister for communicat­ions, electronic­s, and IT, who intervened in the contentiou­s issue on Saturday, has scheduled a meeting with the two sides for Monday. Speaking to Business Standard, Vaishnaw stated: “We will continue to support the startup ecosystem. App developers and Google teams will meet tomorrow (Monday) and explain their viewpoints.”

Under Google’s new formula, it will relist the apps on Play Store for free, provided any transactio­n on those apps does not take place through Google’s billing system. These apps can use any third-party payment channel through their respective websites and are not obligated to pay a commission of 15 to 30 per cent (which includes 4 per cent for transactio­ns through Google's own billing system).

However, those that continue to use Google's payment system will still have to pay the commission­s. Startups have expressed dissatisfa­ction with Google’s action of delisting without providing adequate notice. They are concerned that the hefty commission­s being demanded will force them to pass on the burden as a “Google tax” if they want to survive.

Startups and other app developers argue that Google is giving differenti­al treatment to Indian developers. They point out that the new formula offered has already been implemente­d or is in the process of being implemente­d in the European Economic Area and the UK. In the EU, as a preemptive compliance measure, Google has allowed app developers to offer only their preferred payment processes and not offer the Google payment system at all. Many startups have argued that, in addition to being large advertiser­s on Google, they are now also paying commission­s for being on the app store and conducting transactio­ns, which they deem unfair.

Sources say that Google took action on delisting only after the Supreme Court did not grant any interim relief to the petitioner­s, including these startups, challengin­g the tech major’s billing policy, against delisting the apps. Even then, Google waited for a substantia­l period and started to delist from March 1, leaving a significan­t amount of time in between, they said.

In their discussion­s with app developers, the sources said, Google has made it clear that the commission is based on their business expectatio­ns and is a commercial contract, and that developers have a choice not to use its app store.

It further argued that the startup ecosystem does not get impacted as the majority of the app developers don’t pay in any case.

 ?? ?? Govt to meet Google, app developers today
Govt to meet Google, app developers today

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