The Atmanirbhar Digital India Foundation (ADIF), an association of Indian tech startups, is planning to approach the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to appeal against Google’s proposed 15% levy from app-makers on in-app purchases of digital goods on its Play Store. The association has also written to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) seeking its intervention on the matter.
Formally launched in January, the ADIF’s executive council consists of investors, startup founders and chief executives such as Murugavel Janakiraman of Bharat Matrimony, Snehil Khanor of TrulyMadly, Ritesh Mallik of Innov8, Ajay Data of Data XGen Technologies, Sairee Chahal of SHEROES and Anand Lunia of India Quotient.
The ADIF is a small cohort of the larger group of startups disenchanted by Google and its Play Store policies, as well as other big tech companies that have a wide impact. The core objective of the association is to be the representative body for the Indian startup ecosystem, voicing their concerns to the government and regulatory bodies and playing a role in shaping the policy framework for the sector.
“This monopolistic practice has to be stopped. All we want is a level playing field for Indian startups. It’s a no-brainer that CCI will have to intervene,” Ajay Data, secretary-general of ADIF told ET, which first reported the development.
Earlier this month, Google halved the commission it had proposed to charge app-makers for purchases made by users inside Play-distributed apps. Google cut the commission from 30% to 15%, this only applies to the first $1 Mn a developer makes per year. The rest of the revenue will see a 30% service fee.
According to Google, the drop in service fee will positively impact 99% of developers globally. The company claimed the money saved can help developers scale up at a critical phase of their growth through hiring or marketing.
“While these investments are most critical when developers are in the earlier stages of growth, scaling an app doesn’t stop once a partner has reached $1 M in revenue — we’ve heard from our partners making $2 Mn, $5 Mn and even $10 Mn a year that their services are still on a path to self-sustaining orbit. This is why we are making this reduced fee on the first $1 Mn of total revenue earned each year available to every Play developer that uses the Play billing system, regardless of size,” the company had claimed.
Indian tech entrepreneurs have claimed that by charging a 15% commission and not allowing app-makers to use any other payment gateways, which are known to charge significantly lower service fees, Google is abusing its monopoly.
It remains to be seen if the government takes a similar approach in the Google Play Store 15% commission issue.