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March 3, 2024

Google Proposes Compromise to Restore Delisted Indian Apps Amid Billing Dispute

In a bid to resolve the ongoing billing dispute with Indian app developers, Google Inc. is offering a compromise solution to restore delisted apps on its Play Store. Under the proposed plan, ten key developers will have their apps relisted on the Play Store for free, with the condition that transactions do not occur through Google’s payment platform.

The compromise allows app transactions to take place on the developers’ own websites, exempting them from paying Google’s 11% to 30% share of digital revenues. Google will continue to distribute the apps through the Play Store, ensuring their availability to users.

However, developers wishing to utilize Google’s payment platform will be subject to the standard commercial agreement, requiring them to pay the applicable percentage fee on transactions. While most developers have reportedly accepted the compromise, discussions are ongoing to address any remaining concerns.

This move follows Google’s recent announcement of removing apps from ten developers, including popular platforms like Shaadi, Bharat Matrimony, Naukri.com, and 99 acres, for non-compliance with the user choice billing system. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of Info Edge, expressed surprise over the delisting of additional apps beyond Jeevansathi.com, which they had already addressed for compliance.

The proposed compromise will also be discussed in an upcoming meeting convened by Communications Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw next week to address the contentious issue. Minister Vaishnaw has emphasized India’s commitment to supporting startups and protecting their interests, signaling the government’s stance on the matter.

Sources familiar with the situation reveal that Google’s decision to initiate the delisting process came after a Supreme Court ruling denied interim relief to petitioners, including startups. The company began implementing the delisting process in early March, following the court’s decision. Additionally, the proposal includes a 4% commission on digital revenue for transactions occurring on the Google platform.

As discussions continue between Google, Indian app developers, and government stakeholders, the proposed compromise offers a potential resolution to restore the affected apps while addressing concerns over billing practices and fostering a conducive environment for app development in India.

Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy

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