April 16, 2024
  • 10 Indian apps that were removed last week for not complying with Google Play Store’s payment policies have been reinstated temporarily. 
  • The government and the Telecom and Information & Technology Minister had to intervene to get these parties talking. 
  • No long-term solution has been found so far. 

Google Temporarily Restores Indian Apps On Google Play Store

Google has temporarily agreed to reinstate the 10 Indian apps that were removed from the Google Play Store last week. The breakthrough came after Telecom and Information & Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, managed to get Google and the Indian companies to talk over the issues and reach a common ground.

Google and the startup community have met with us, (and) we have had very constructive discussions…Google has agreed to list all the apps.Ashwini Vaishnaw

However, this is a short-term solution for now. But Vaishnaw believes that the parties can agree to a long-term solution in the coming 1 to 2 months. Google did not respond to a comment on this.

Read More: Google loses landmark antitrust trial against Epic Games

Why Were These Apps Removed?

On Friday Google announced that it will be removing some Indian apps from the App Store because they did not adhere to the billing policies of the platform. They didn’t release an official list of those apps but with a little digging, it was found that Matrimony.com was one of the apps on the list.

Other affected apps include Alt Balaji, Truly Madly, Quack Quack, and KukuFM.

Not just that, Matrimony.com was also one of the worst-hit apps because it has 140 apps under its belt, all of which were dropped from the store. These apps include BharatMatrimony.com, Jeevansathi.com, and so on.

The company confirmed that they had received the removal notice from Google and their legal team was exploring the next best step.

Another rumor suggested that InfoEdge (owner of 99acres and Naukri.com) is also among the apps that didn’t pay the bills. Following this, the shares of the company dropped by 2%.

However, the company denied these rumors and said “We have been compliant since February 9, the date the Supreme Court order came out. We are replying to the notice.

They also cleared that all pending invoices have been cleared. Thankfully, their shares recovered by more than 2% soon after.

Read More: Google and Apple potentially face over $50.4 mn in fines for breaching South Korea’s in-app billing rules

The Longstanding Tension Between The Parties 

The disagreements between Google and these 10 Indian app developers have been going on for the past 3 years. Google believes that its Play Store offers a great platform for these apps and immensely helps them. But they remain ungrateful and refuse to pay for the value they receive.

The company also said that every company had 3 years to prepare for their payment policies. They also got 3 extra weeks each after the Supreme Court’s ruling on February 9 that allowed Google to keep charging the apps for using the Play Store. So it’s high time they take some steps to ensure that everyone complies with the rules.

But that’s the problem — these Indian apps feel that it’s wrong for Google to force them to use its in-app payment system and get a commission on their purchases. Previously, the commission rate was 15% to 30%.

After the Antitrust Body Competition Commission of India urged the tech giant to reconsider the pricing structure, they agreed to bring the rate down to 11% to 26% but it looks like these 10 apps aren’t ready to pay that either. Hence, they were removed.

They were still able to run their apps on Androids, but only through their website or through third-party app stores.

For now, these apps are back and running but we don’t know for how long. Unless they reach an agreement, there might be a second phase of removal.

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