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Google appears unlikely to accede to demands by Indian startups to roll back the 30% commission it charges for selling digital content and services via the Play Store.

The indication came in a policy webinar with developers on Wednesday, where the US tech firm responded with an open-ended answer to a question from developers about their demand.

“We understand how hard the developers work to build mobile apps. We know it’s a huge investment. Building a mobile platform and a store to help developers reach billions of users also takes significant work and investment," said Kunal Soni, director of business development, apps and games, India, South-East Asia and Australia-New Zealand, Google Play.

“Our business model makes it possible for us to keep a safe and thriving platform and invest in millions of developers, and a lot goes into making that happen."

The webinar was the first in a series that Google plans to run with Indian developers.

The company said it has received feedback from developers that the language in its policy documentation was confusing, and that it wanted to clarify any queries during the webinar.

Google took pre-submitted questions from developers.

The company has come under fire from Indian startups in recent weeks after it issued a clarification to its pre-existing billing policies.

It requires developers who sell digital content and services to mandatorily use Google’s Play Billing system and, hence, pay a 30% commission for these sales.

Several startup founders have spoken up against the company in the last few weeks.

These startups are looking to form a lobbying body and have had a meeting with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to discuss a possible antitrust case against Google in India, Mint reported on 12 October.

In response, Google extended the deadline for complying with its Play Billing policies by six months for Indian startups.

The company also said it would set up meetings with startups and listen to their concerns, while also conducting policy webinars like the one today.

The row comes as the search giant faces a global backlash for the power it wields over various Internet-based services.

The US Justice Department filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against the company on Tuesday for abusing its dominance in digital advertising and search.

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