Google extends Play Store billing timeline for Indian developers

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Google on Friday said it is extending the timeline for developers in India from March 31, 2022, to October 31, 2022 to help them better integrate with Play Store’s billing system.

In October last year, Google had announced a timeline extension for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option on Google Play.

“We recognise the unique needs of the developer ecosystem in India and remain committed to partnering with developers in India on their growth journey,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

“We are extending the timeline to 31st October 2022 to provide developers in India the required product support for recurring payments through convenient user payment systems, including UPI and wallets, and also provide them more time in light of the changes to India’s recurring digital payments guidelines,” the company spokesperson added.

The service fee applies to developers who sell digital content which is less than 3 percent of the developers on Google Play. It means that 97 percent of developers can distribute their apps and utilize all of Google developer tools and services at no cost.

Google has moved beyond a single service fee model as developers operate in different industries that require different levels of support to build sustainable businesses.

Effective July 1, 2021, Google reduced the service fee on the first $1 million in annual developer earnings to 15 percent.

On October 21, the company announced further changes to Google Play’s service fee model, cutting fees for subscriptions from 30 percent to 15 percent and further reducing the fee for specific verticals of apps in the Play Media Experience Program to as low as 10 percent.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) said that this move gives developers a short-term relief for their anxiety.

“The reality is that app owners have been in a very tough spot as they are unsure if they should unwillingly comply with Google’s new policies and be hopeful of a Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) intervention on the interim relief petition for maintaining the status quo. Google’s deadline extension certainly gives them more time but doesn’t take away their uncertainty,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF.

App developers, especially those selling digital goods and services, have been unhappy and vocal about their objections to the policy ever since it was announced back in September 2020.

There is a petition before the CCI, seeking to stop Google from implementing these policies before the investigation against its alleged anti-competitive practices has been completed.

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