Facing intense criticism over its Play Store billing policy, Google on Monday said it has extended the time for developers in India who use alternative payment system, to integrate with the Play Store billing system till March 31, 2022, thus deferring the enforcement of 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases of digital goods from its Play Store in the country.
The move, the tech giant said, is to ensure that the Indian developers have "enough time to implement the UPI for the subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play".
The company said it is setting up listening sessions with the leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply.
"We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies," Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play, said in a blog post.
The Google decision to extend the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system comes in the wake of criticism it has received from various stakeholders.
The developers and payment gateway players have criticised the new Google in-app purchase policies where those using Play Store to sell digital services will be required to use the tech giant's own built-in payment system.
"Just because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem of this country, they should not act arbitrarily and enforce their rules and regulations which are contrary to our country's laws," said Vishwas Patel, Founder, CCAvenues and Chairman, Payments Council of India.
"Also, they cannot force Indian apps developers/owners selling digital services to compulsorily use the Google Billing and payment system and charge 30 per cent MDR," he added.
According to Kochikar, the Google Play payments policy is not new.
"In fact, more than 97 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play already comply with the policy. To be clear, the policy only applies if a developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, which is less than 3 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play," she reiterated.
According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), prima Facie, Google's move, even if legal, is certainly not innocuous.
"For many founders of Indian start-ups, this brings back fears of the not so old deeply problematic revenue share model between VAS service providers (mainly digital goods) and telcos," the IAMAI said last week.
Google said that its billing system provides a simple, safe way for consumers to transact.
"We are deeply committed to the success of the Indian ecosystem. We do not succeed unless our partners succeed," Kochikar said.