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ADIF asks CCI to suspend Google’s new billing policy

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CHENNAI: The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a think tank for the digital startup community in India, has asked the Competition Commission of India (ICC) to seek a temporary waiver from the implementation of the Google’s new PlayStore policy on commissions pending investigation of the tech giant for potential abuse of dominance.
Calling Google’s new policy a “ticking time bomb,” ADIF said it would restrict developers of certain categories of applications to only use the Google Billing System (GBS) to accept payments, which would result in a 30% commission for all transactions on Google Play. Store versus 2% charged by other payment processing systems.
In line with Google’s new policy which goes into effect in India in March 2022, it plans to take 15-30% commission from app developers on all app purchases and in-app purchases by users. Google also plans to include categories like gaming apps, dating apps, OTT platforms, edtech apps, and others in this rule.
“There are strong arguments in favor of such relief because this new policy, when it comes into effect next March, would have a destructive effect on the operating margins of a large number of startups and would make their business models infeasible, “ADIF said in a statement. declaration.
In the Indian context, Google’s Android operating system holds around 5% of the market share, making Google PlayStore the default app store on the majority of mobile devices.
“The ADIF provides that unless a decree passed by this honorable Commission [CCI] To maintain the status quo until the end of the current investigation, Google will proceed with the application of its conditions on the Play Store, thus causing negative and irreversible consequences on the emerging ecosystem of startups in India ”, Sijo Kuruvilla George, executive director, Alliance of Digital India Foundation, says.
“This will have a disastrous effect on India’s digital ecosystem by reducing the choices available in the hands of application developers and users, as well as harming the country’s innovation ecosystem by disrupting structures. costs and margins for several industries, ”ADIF said.
In November 2020, the ICC conducted an investigation into the issue of mandatory use of the Google Play Store payment system and whether this restricts the ability of app developers to select a payment processing system of their choice.
Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO of Matrimony.com, and also a member of ADIF said: “The issue is not so much about the percentage of commission charged as it is the anti-competitive practice of forcing a payment option to force other payment providers. . If left unchecked, such anti-competitive policies and control fees will be imposed on more and more categories, causing a disastrous effect on competition and prices in India. ”


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