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Google Play billing policy: Madras HC rejects pleas by Indian firms, startups


Madras High Court has turned down the majority of the pleas filed by the Indian companies against Google over the latter’s app billing policy. The court said the matter was under the purview of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The court dismissed as many as 14 of the 16 pleas, according to MoneyControl. These pleas were filed by the companies like Shadi.com and Unacademy. It’s worth noting that Disny+Hotstar and Testbook have also filed separate suits against Google’s policies.

Last month, the court barred Google from delisting apps of firms, which had moved the court against the Google Play billing system.

The pushback from the Indian firms follows the Madras HC’s barred Google from delisting applications. Earlier, the court granted an interim injunction against a plea filed by Matrimony.com, an online matchmaking platform. Indian startups TrulyMadly, KukuFM, Unacademy, and QuackQuack had moved the high court challenging Google’s billing policies. Kutumb, Stage, and Aha also joined.

Disney+Hotstar and Testbook have also filed suit against Google, says the report.

That said, Matrimony.com had claimed that Google had tried to make Google Play Billing System mandatory, gave the sole option for payments, and imposed a fee of 15% – 30% depending upon the annual revenue –something which was quashed by the Indian competition watchdog.After a huge backlash, Google later launched an alternative billing system but with a service fee framework, which includes 15% for the first $1 million revenue earned by the developer each year and 15% for automatically renewing subscription products purchased by subscribers, regardless of revenue earned by the developer each year, among others. For India, however, Google had reduced the Google Play service fee by 4% for those choosing to pay through the alternative billing payment.

Google also posted a blog highlighting that investments in Android and Google Play have helped support the growth of India’s app ecosystem.

It said Play’s service fees are the lowest among major app stores, and only 3% of developers in India sell digital goods or services and therefore, would need to pay a service fee.

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