Google delays Play Billing for Indian apps amid mounting protests from developers

REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

Amid growing concerns from startups about Play Billing policies, Google on Monday said it is “setting up listening sessions” with “leading Indian startups” to “understand their concerns”. The move comes less than a week after Google India issued a clarification on its Play Billing policies, which was panned by big tech startups in the country, including PayTM and Razorpay.

Further, the company said it will also be holding “Policy Workshops” for startups to help “clear any additional questions” they may have about its Play Store policies. It also extended the time developers have to integrate Play Billing system into their apps till 31 March, 2022.

The company had earlier set the date for compliance as 30 September, 2021. The date remains the same for apps all over the world, but Google is giving a six month extension to Indian apps. In its blog post, the company says this is being done to “ensure” apps have enough time to implement UPI for subscription option built into the Google Play billing method.

Essentially, Monday’s clarification means Indian app developers can get away with not paying Google its 30% Play Store commission for more than a year. It’s unclear how many Indian developers are not compliant with Google’s policies. Google says only 3% of all apps will need to make changes to fall in line with the Play Billing policy.

The company has faced backlash from many startup founders in India, including those from high profile startups such as PayTM. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of PayTM, has been vocal against Google ever since it temporarily banned PayTM from Google Play for violating its gambling policies.

Sharma was among nearly 50 founders who joined a virtual meeting last week to discuss a startup association to lobby against Google. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (Iamai) had also called for a meeting with founders to discuss their concerns.

Industry executives, though, say that many startups want to break away from Iamai to form their own association, as they believe it doesn’t have their best interests in .

This article was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.