Under fire from India’s startup ecosystem over its policy to enforce a 30% charge on all in-app purchases through Play Store in India beginning September 30, 2021, Google has announced that it has extended the deadline to integrate the billing system to March 31, 2022.
This would be a temporary relief for companies which have been protesting against the search giant for imposing such a charge on existing as well as new players.
In a blog post released today, Google said that it was “extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system”.
The blog posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications at Google Play, further said that the extension is for developers in India to integrate with the Play Store billing system to implement the UPI for a subscription payment option for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system.
It also said that it is mindful of local needs and concerns and announced steps it will take to engage with the startup community on this contentious issue which includes setting up of “listening sessions” with leading Indian startups to understand their concern and setting up policy workshops to answer questions.
Google also clarified that more than 97% of developers with apps on Play Store already comply with the policy and the new policy only applies if a developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, which is less than 3% of developers with apps on the download store.
The development comes hours after digital payments platform Paytm launched its mini-app store, announcing its move with a front-page ad in many Indian dailies this morning.
It’s worth noting that Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Google have been at loggerheads ever since the Paytm and the Paytm First Games app were taken down from the Play Store on September 18.
While the Paytm app was restored hours after the suspension, the fantasy gaming app is still not available for download.
According to an ET report, Sharma along with 40 other leaders of the Indian startup ecosystem including Vishal Gondal, Anand Lunia, Gautam Mago and founders of Innov8, Bharat Matrimony, upGrad, Dream11 and TrulyMadly, recently met MeitY secretary Ajay Sawhney virtually to raise their concerns over Google’s 30% charge.
Several media reports have also suggested that the government would consider requests from Indian entrepreneurs to launch its own app store.