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    Google defers 30% in-app commission in India to April 2022 after protests

    Synopsis

    Google deferred the enforcement of 30% commission on in-app purchases of digital goods from its Play Store in India to April 2022 in the face of mounting protests.

    Agencies
    New Delhi | Bengaluru: Google deferred the enforcement of 30% commission on in-app purchases of digital goods from its Play Store in India to April 2022 in the face of mounting protests by Indian developers. Globally, the fee comes into effect in September next year. The company is “listening” to the Indian startup and app developer community to understand its concerns and is ready to “find ways” to ensure both sides can be successful together, Sameer Samat, VP of product management at Google, told ET. “It’s not good for anyone if our partners feel they can’t grow and be successful,” he said. “So we’re deeply committed to the Indian ecosystem. We will be engaging, we will be finding ways (so) that we can grow together.”

    ET had reported earlier that more than 50 technology entrepreneurs were joining hands to petition the government for support to create an overarching Indian digital app ecosystem to counter what they view as the dominance of US technology giants Google and Apple. The government has responded positively to the demand and has said it’s “open” to launching an alternative. Following the concerns that have been raised, Google has decided to delay applying the fee, said Samat, who’s based at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. This has been communicated to the developers privately, he said.

    ‘Not discussing change in model’
    The idea behind giving "a lengthy period of time" before the policy comes into effect is to make sure that businesses are not "unduly stressed," he said. "During this time, we could have conversations and work together." The Indian companies had called Google’s move "abrupt" and said 30% commission will come in the way of building sustainable businesses. "(Our) overall approach and tone with this was not to try to be abrupt, nor to try to be burdensome," Samat said. "The conversations that have been going on in India about Google Play related to billing and other topics… we are doing a listening tour. You know we have started already, we will continue. Me and my team will be engaging with founders, CEOs and just making sure we sit down and discuss all these things."

    11Agencies
    Samat said there has been no alteration in Google’s long-time global business practice." We are not discussing a change in the model per se but I do feel that we can engage and hear discussion on billing but also other topics they would like to discuss. We can find ways to grow together," he said. He also explained why the 30% commission applies to purely digital services such as games and not to apps that deliver physical products such as ecommerce.

    Samat said Google doesn’t have a role after someone makes purchases in the physical world through its app store. But if something goes amiss in the digital world, such as with subscriptions or an element purchased in a game, Google provides a number of services to help customers, he said. He also said that if fees were applied uniformly to all apps featured on the store, it may end up "stifling" innovation because many of them may not have a business model to support themselves or the means to pay even a small fee at the start of their journeys.

    "This model has been successful and we've seen the app ecosystem grow over the years globally," he said. Samat clarified that the Google Play Store business model has been in place from the start. The policy applies to approximately 3% of global developers and of them 98% are already using Google Play Store billing. "So we've actually received many questions from developers, India developers and global developer developers - they're asking who does it apply to. And so we felt like it was an important moment to clarify for those developers and for the rest of the community," he said.

    As for misusing its dominant position, Samat said Google’s Android operating system is an open platform and most phones come with two app stores. Developers always have the choice to redirect payments through their websites. The company said Google Play Store billing supports several forms of payment including debit and credit cards, net banking, and UPI apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Mobikwik etc as well as carrier billing and gift cards. Samat also said that Google is open to integrating other popular forms of payment in the future.

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    12 Comments on this Story

    Anthony54 days ago
    30% is just able and fair..India can't be different if the world accepts Google's pricing...similar to the saying beggars can't be choosers
    Anthony54 days ago
    This Paytm ceo is a poop brain..and so is his cheap Indian thoughts
    Cyber Bhoot54 days ago
    Dear Citizens, please make sure, Google doesn’t become next East India company. Don’t be so blinded by few big tech companies that they will sell you anything by making you zombies.
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