On Thursday, Google formally allowed all Indian developers to bill users for the apps and services they sell on the company’s app store using alternative payment methods. The action was taken just over a month after the business issued a number of policy changes, including enabling downloads from third-party app stores on the Play Store, on January 25.
We are now allowing all developers to provide an alternative charging solution in addition to Google Play for their mobile and tablet users in India in response to recent legislative developments in that country. The Google Play service cost will be lowered by 4% if a customer uses an alternative billing method, according to a revision to the company’s official Play Console Help support page.
For using its platform and payment mechanisms, Google currently charges developers a fee of 15% or 30%, depending on their annual Play Store income. With this update, developers who use third-party payment services, such as any alternative payment gateway for paid apps, services, and subscriptions, will receive a 4% discount on the commission. However, depending on how much money they make from their apps, they will still be required to pay Google 11% or 26% in commission.
The news comes after Google was collectively fined 2,273 crore (about $275 million) by the Competition Commission (CCI) in October of last year for abusing its market dominance and engaging in anti-competitive behavior. Since then, Google has appealed the CCI decision to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), where hearings are currently taking place.
To be sure, Google had first released a pilot program for enabling third party billing with select developers in September last year. On January 25, the company had affirmed as part of its policy changes that it will be enabling third party payments for all developers in the country.
Startups and developers, however, have claimed that Google’s reaction to the CCI orders are not in compliance. A statement issued on the matter by industry body Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) said that the update is “a clear violation of a specific direction of the CCI.”