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NEW DELHI/BENGALURU, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's
Google has extended its deadline for Indian app
developers to comply with a new billing system for commission
fees by six months, it said on Monday, days after local startups
voiced anger about the charges.
Google will now enforce its global policy more strictly and
charge a 30% commission fee for in-app purchases from Indian
developers from March 31, 2022, the company said, saying it was
"being mindful of local needs and concerns".
The move comes after many startups in India banded together
to consider ways to challenge the company by lodging complaints
with the government and courts over the original deadline for
compliance of Sept. 30 next year.
They were upset about the commission fee and also criticised
several other Google Play Store policies for hurting their
"We do not succeed unless our partners succeed," Google said
in a blog post, adding that it will set up "listening sessions"
with leading Indian startups to understand their issues.
Last week, Google fixed the enforcement date for the new
billing system at Sept. 30, 2021 and said only 3% of apps
globally were non-compliant.
The dispute started after Google briefly took down India's
top digital payments app Paytm for violation of certain Play
Store policies last month, drawing sharp rebukes from the
Softbank-backed Indian company's founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma,
and several other entrepreneurs.
Nearly 99% of India's half a billion smartphones run on
Google's Android mobile operating system. Some Indian startups
say that allows Google to exert excessive control over the types
of apps and other services they can offer, an allegation the
"A deferment (of the fees) is just not enough," said an
Indian startup executive, who did not wish to be named. "The
gatekeeper of the biggest application store should be fair and
The spats have strained Google's strong ties to Indian
startups. It has invested in some and helped hundreds with
product development. In July, its Indian-born CEO Sundar Pichai
committed $10 billion in new investments over five to seven
Globally, app developers have said a 30% fee is excessive
compared with the 2% fees for typical credit card payments
processors. Google and rival Apple, which charges a
similar fee, have said the amount covers the security and
marketing benefits their app stores provide.
On Monday, Paytm's Sharma posted a newspaper clipping of
Google's decision to defer the fee, saying it "proves who is
In recent days, dozens of Indian entrepreneurs held calls to
strategise challenging Google legally and by designing a local
mobile application to list apps and reduce dependence on Google.
Leading Indian newspapers carried a front-page ad from Paytm
on Monday announcing the launch of a "mini app store".
"Calling all developers. Let's build India's Digital
Revolution, together," the ad said, adding there would be no
payment charge when a Paytm wallet or a state-backed payment
system is used.
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi and Nivedita
Bhattacharjee and Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by
Rashmi Aich and Christopher Cushing)