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Google talks tough with developers not complying with Play Store policies


Google is stepping up enforcement against developers who are not complying with its new app billing policy. Potential actions include the removal of non-compliant apps from the app store.

In a blog post on Friday, Google stated that up to 10 companies have chosen not to comply with Google’s policies and have sought interim protections from the court. These developers adhere to the payment policies of other app stores, Google added.

However, Google did not disclose the names of these 10 companies.

“We’ve always respected local laws. For years, no court or regulator has denied Google Play’s right to charge for the value and services we provide. On February 9, the Supreme Court also refused to interfere with our right to do so. While some of the developers that were refused interim protection have started fairly participating in our business model and ecosystem, others choose to find ways to not do so,” the company further stated in the post.

It may be recalled that the apex court last month declined a plea by a few companies to restrain Google from delisting their apps. The court then listed the case for the next hearing on March 19.

Google, in its blog post, highlighted that allowing this small group of developers to receive differential treatment while the majority of developers comply creates an “uneven playing field across the ecosystem and puts all other apps and games at a competitive disadvantage.”

It also pointed out that the company had granted developers more than three years to prepare for the new regime, including three weeks after the Supreme Court’s order.

The company disclosed that over 200,000 Indian developers using Google Play adhere to its policies. Moreover, less than 60 developers on Google Play are subjected to fees above 15% as per its new tiered pricing programs.

Google and developers across the world have long been at loggerheads over the commission charged by the company for transactions on the app store. Apple has also faced similar backlash. Over the years, Google and Apple have made several changes to their app store policies to appease developers.

In India, several startups have raised their voice against Google’s app store policies. Some have also taken legal action. In January, the Madras High Court rejected pleas filed by a group of companies, including Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Unacademy, Kuku FM, and others, challenging Google’s new user choice billing system.

Meanwhile, Indian fintech company PhonePe has launched a desi app store, Indus AppStore. Touted as a ‘Made in India’ app store, the app store will be supporting 12 languages.

“App listings on the Indus Appstore Developer Platform will be free for the first year, post which a nominal annual fee will apply. The Indus Appstore will not charge developers any platform fee or commission for In-App Payments. Developers will be free to integrate any payment gateway of their choice inside their own apps,” said the company in a post.

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