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Business News/ Companies / News/  Google to reinstate all delisted Indian apps on its Play store after govt intervenes
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Google to reinstate all delisted Indian apps on its Play store after govt intervenes

With Google delisted the apps, the Indian government took strong exception to the removal, calling it ‘unacceptable’.

Google started restoring some apps on Saturday that agreed to comply with its guideline to pay a fee of 11-25 percent on in-app payments or do financial transactions outside of the app. (Reuters )Premium
Google started restoring some apps on Saturday that agreed to comply with its guideline to pay a fee of 11-25 percent on in-app payments or do financial transactions outside of the app. (Reuters )

Google announced on Tuesday that it’s temporarily reinstating all suspended Indian apps on the Play Store, provided developers comply with its policies.

“In the spirit of cooperation, we are temporarily reinstating the apps of the developers with appeals pending in Supreme Court. However, Google maintains its right to implement and enforce its business model as was established in various courts. We will invoice our full applicable services fees in the interim, and extend payment timelines for these companies. We look forward to a collaborative effort and find solutions that respect the needs of all the parties," a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

This development comes after Google executives met with Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and a group of Indian founders, marking the first joint meet since it suspended these apps on Friday.

After the meeting, the minister said that the government recognises the technology firm’s efforts in building the digital ecosystem in India, and the electronics and information technology ministry will work with all parties to “reach a long-term solution in coming months."

The company has informed all startups that they have the option to relist all their apps on the Play Store, but in-app purchases will be effective immediately, said a senior executive privy to Google’s stance on the matter, seeking anonymity. This means that startups will also have to begin paying the service fee to Google, ranging between 11-30%.

While Google started restoring the suspended apps since Saturday, it was so far based on its “consumption model", that does not allow apps to accept payments from users, instead mandating them to redirect users to a web page to sell their services.

Snehil Khanor, founder and chief executive of suspended startup TrulyMadly, said that it considers this as “Google’s abuse of market dominance".

Two officials said the government will investigate whether the company is exercising its dominant market position before sharing its view.

The Google executive said while in-app billing will be available to the apps immediately, Google will offer a longer payment settlement cycle for the time being. A decision was not yet taken by the company on the payment cycle duration.The matter is under judicial scrutiny. On February 9th, the Supreme Court declined to grant a stay against Google’s right to enforce its commercial model for the Android marketplace, Play Store.

The matter of in-app billing has been the primary point of contention, which the startups have been looking to get an injunction on. Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and chief executive of Bharat Matrimony, told Mint on Friday that Google’s levying of a service fee between 11-30% is “arbitrary"—and is counter-productive of the startup industry. Anupam Mittal, founder of People Group—which saw multiple of its apps being suspended, told Mint on Saturday that since startups already spend a sizeable margin of their revenue on Google’s search platform, adding the further service fee may deduct “nearly 70-80% of net revenue" from businesses.

Going forward, it remains to be seen how the matter progresses. The Supreme Court is yet to announce its date of hearing on the matter, until which Google said that this will be the temporary model in which apps will be allowed to work on the Play Store.

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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 04:52 PM IST
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