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Google restores delisted Indian apps as stakeholders slam Big Tech

Photo: Nirala Times

*India’s Financial Technology payments industry seeks the government intervention against what it has described as Google’s ‘abusive and monopolistic’ app billing policy, just as the Payments Council of India is calling for an amendment to the laws to address the issue

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Google, a global tech giant, has relisted about 10 Indian apps on Play Store only after the app developers removed payment functionalities to comply with the tech giant’s billing policies.

ConsumerConnect learnt the tussle between Indian Internet firms and Google Monday, March 5, 2024, had reached the country’s Central government’s corridors with union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar meeting both the sides.

The Indian Government is learnt to have assured startups that it will work towards restoring the status quo before they were delisted.

The IT ministry will also evaluate forming a long-term framework to ensure unilateral action, such as this one is not taken by large companies against local startups, sources in the know said.

Chandrasekhar also took to X account to write that startups presented their concerns regarding some of Google’s policies.

According to him, the office assured them that the government “will take it up with Google for a sustainable and long-term solution.”

In a related development, the Android maker restored apps that complied with its billing policy, agency report said.

It was gathered the restored apps, however,  have chosen the option that does not allow them to offer in-app purchases.

Users can only make payments externally on a browser, according to report.

Vinay Singhal, cofounder and vernacular video streaming app Stage, told us that apps had to give in to Google’s demands because “if we were not available on the Play Store our customers would think the company had shut down,” he added.

FinTechs seek legal changes

Meanwhile, India’s Financial Technology (FinTech) payments industry has sought the country’s government intervention against what it described as Google’s “abusive and monopolistic” app billing policy, with the Payments Council of India (PCI) also calling for an amendment to the laws to address the issue.

The council represents all major payment companies under the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

As Google and Indian internet firms face off on billing, the Central government is seeking a “long-term solution” for players in the digital ecosystem.

The reinstated apps will now offer an external payment option provided by Google, under which they are not subjected to any commission, industry executives said.

However, Indian firms believe that not having in-app purchases affects their business, ET report stated.

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