The HC has directed Google not to delist the startups that have filed the petitions
Though the petitioners have received an injunction, they still believe that the 4% commission on downloads is unfair at many levels
Google may raise an invoice by July 20 and these startups would have to pay the commission by July 25
The Madras High Court on Thursday (June 8) extended interim injunction to all the petitions filed in the Google Play Store billing case, asking Google not to delist the startups that have filed the petitions.
However, the HC also asked the startups to submit a report to the tech giant on the total number of downloads in June, which Google had asked for, and directed them to pay a 4% commission on that, the Economic Times reported.
In a full-fledged battle between Google and the Indian startup ecosystem over the former’s Play Store billing policy, the likes of Matrimony.com, Shaadi.com, as well as new-age startups like Unacademy, Truly Madly, Kuku FM, and QuackQuack, among others, moved to the Madras HC against Google’s recent notice that asked these startups to adopt its billing policy or risk being removed from the Play Store.
On April 24, the HC temporarily barred Google from delisting Matrimony.com’s app until June 1.
According to Inc42, Google’s notice read somewhat like this: “Your app uses a non-Google Play billing system to accept payment for access to in-app features or services, including any app functionality, digital content or goods (“collectively “in-app purchases”) Your app may be removed from or distribution limited to Google Play if you do not resolve this issue by June 15, 2023.”
A person aware of the development told ET that Matrimony.com and Shaadi.com have been given an unconditional stay but under the Jeevan Saathi order, Google had asked them to report their monthly downloads and that they would be charged a 4% commission.
“That order has been extended to all the other petitioners as well with a correction that it will not start from May but rather from June. So, the downloads for June will have to be sent to Google by July 15,” the person was quoted as saying.
Reportedly, Google might raise an invoice by July 20 and these startups would have to pay the commission by July 25.
However, though the petitioners have received an injunction, they still believe the 4% commission is unfair at many levels.
Vinay Singhal, cofounder and CEO of Stage, who is also one of the petitioners, told the publication that Google doesn’t have “any right” to ask for private business data of the startups just because they are listed on Play Store. Besides, he also said that companies pay only 1%-2% to the payment gateways currently and now there would be an additional 4% cost without providing any services.
Google’s legal troubles in India seem to be only growing with time. The tech giant introduced the new user choice billing system after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) slapped a fine of INR 936 Cr last year for anti-competitive practices regarding its Play Store policies.
The new billing policy was intended to replace the previous Google Billing Payments System (GBPS). But it asked for an 11%-26% service fee for in-app purchases under the new system as against 15%-30% earlier for those opting for third-party payment processors.
The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) called this a death knell for the Indian startup ecosystem.