Google in clash with Indian software startups

Internet giant Google has clashed with Indian software developers over its share of app revenues and the other app store rules.

The firm has said it will not enforce its policy on in-app purchases until March 2022 after a backlash from India's startup community, angered that Google forces apps selling digital goods to use the Play Store's billing system.

Indian developers were also unhappy about the high commission of 30% that Google charges for all in-app purchases.

Google had planned to introduce the policy worldwide in September 2021.

Startups that have expressed concern include digital payment firm Paytm, Razorpay, a payments processor, Sharechat and Indiamart.

Paytm has launched its own mini-app store to support Indian developers.

The startups have also voiced their concerns to officials at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Indian companies say a 30% commission is too high and that Google's billing policies are too restrictive.

Google has promised to set up listening sessions with the Indian startup community to address any concerns and explain its rules.

It also claimed in a blog post that more than "97% of developers with apps on Google Play already comply with the policy."

Apple also charges a similar 30% commission for in-app purchases.

Major ecosystem

India is home to the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world, according to NASSCOM, a trade body for India's technology firms. They cannot afford to ignore Google since almost 90% of mobile devices in the country use the Android operating system.

Reports have surfaced that India is developing its own app marketplace as an alternative to Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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The Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), which functions under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is believed to be working on an app marketplace.

That would be in keeping with the government's current push for home-grown products and services as part of its Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) policy.

Earlier this year the country banned several Chinese apps, including Helo, TikTok and Shareit.

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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