Google delays enforcing payment policy in India to April 2022.
Google's new policy mandates all in-app purchases be processed through its own payment gateway.
New policy coming into force September 2021 for the rest of the world.
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Google has today announced that they will delay the enforcement of the app-store policy regarding in-app purchases for India. The enforcement, which comes into effect in September 2021, has been delayed to April 2022 for India only. The announcement comes hot on the heels of a protest by Indian startups who are opposed to Google forcing all app developers to use Google’s payment method to process in-app payments. Interestingly, this has been the policy for a while, but Google never really enforced it, until now, when it has come under the scanner for anti-competitive practices when it comes to the Play Store.
Google announced that it would delay enforcing its payment policy after serious opposition raised by Indian startups such as PayTM, Razorpay, IndiaMART etc. The startups claim that Google has been unfair in the way it creates and implements policies on the Play Store. The latest spat began with Google delisting the PayTM app from the Play Store for violating policies regarding gambling. PayTM and other Indian app developers cried foul, stating that Google waited till the very last minute, just days before the IPL season kicked off.
Further, Google recently announced that it will be forcing all app developers to use Google’s own payment methods for In-App purchases, effectively cutting into 30 percent of the app developers’ revenue. This means that apps like PayTM and similar ones will no longer be able to use their own payment framework, and will instead have to use Google’s and hence give a 30 percent cut to the Mountain View giant. In response, Shekhar Vijay Sharma of PayTM has announced that PayTM will now push its own Mini App-store, which already houses a number of popular apps. PayTM says that it will not charge developers any commission for using its payment system or the UPI payment gateway but will levy a 2% charge on “other instruments such as credit cards.”
It is intriguing to see Google double down on forcing everyone to use the company’s payment system for in-app purchases, when it is exactly this behaviour that sparked Epic Games to take both Apple and Google to court. While Google does say that they will make it easier for users to install third-party app stores on their Android devices in Android 12, their behaviour so far has been contrary to the open-source tenet of Android. While Android allows you to side load apps, Google actively discourages users to do so, warning them of potential malware and other such attacks. Google does this irrespective of the source from which the app is downloaded, which is what eventually forced Epic to release Fortnite on Android.
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