Google postpones its new Play Store billing in India after startups raised concerns

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The percentage of profits that mobile marketplaces like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store take from developers has become an increasingly significant topic of late, and the latest development in this space pertains to India.

More specifically to the more than 150 startups in the region with formed an informal coalition in order to voice concerns over the percentage increases that Google will enforce on the Play Store come September 2021.

The outcry was so overwhelming that Google decided to postpone its new policy to April 2022 in the region, where the proposed 30 percent cut that the company wants to take is up for debate.

Interestingly, at the time of writing, India is the only country in the world where Google has decided to delay the effective date of the Play Store policy change.

It makes sense given that India is the second largest internet market in the world, and a key territory for Google as far as devices and services are concerned. As such, earning the ire of developers and startups in the region is less than ideal.

It now looks like Google is looking to actively engage with the aforementioned coalition and others to find a better solution.

“We are setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply. We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies,” noted Purnima Kochikar, director of Business Development of Games & Applications at Google Play, in a statement obtained by TechCrunch.

“And we’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system, to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play — for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system we set a timeline of 31st March 2022,” she added.

Whether those discussions will actually yield the desired result for developers and startups in India remains to be seen. It will also be interesting to see whether they are willing to move to a different ecosystem.

We’ve seen Apple, for example, intensify its plans for the region, although there is still a significant price barrier to their devices. Huawei and its AppGallery is also a possibility, but given the tensions between China and India of late, is also an option that lies on the fringes.

Either way its clear that the dominance of the Play Store and App Store are coming under further scrutiny.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.