Google’s decision to cut PlayStore pricing is an admission of guilt: ADIF

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 22, 2021


The tech giant announced that it will decrease the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30% to 15%, starting from January 2022

Google’s decision to cut PlayStore pricing, points to an admission of guilt and unfairness on Google’s part in their PlayStore policies, according to Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), an industry body for India’s digital start-ups

“While Google has attempted to address one aspect of the unfairness – high prices (albeit in a half-hearted manner), the more important aspects related to anti-competitive practices – of restricting other payment providers to operate in their app economy and allowing a choice of payment provider to developers, remain unaddressed & unresolved still,” ADIF said.

‘Source of happiness’

Google has announced that it will decrease the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30 per cent to 15 per cent, starting from January 2022. ADIF acknowledged that the announcement might come as a source of happiness for the subset of developers who are already on the Google billing system. The cut will improve their margins – should they fall into the “right” categories that the company deemed fit for Google’s relaxation in margins.

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“The announcement does nothing to address the issues and challenges of scores of developers who stand to be affected by the earlier announcement by Google of forced adoption of their billing system by March 2022. Moreover, apart from the additional work they would have to undertake, both with integration and re-onboarding of customers, almost all of them would see their margins get thinner owing to migrating to a much higher commission rate (30 per cent /15 per cent) from the present rates (1 per cent-2 per cent) being levied by their existing payment providers,” ADIF said

“The fact that Google is able to unilaterally declare and dictate prices, as is evident from this announcement as well, lies at the heart of the issue. What developers are asking for is fairness and not benevolence in the form of “reduced” commission percentages. It has never been about the percentages. Price discovery should be left to the market forces. As long as Google gets to unilaterally dictate prices and people don’t have choices, it’s still a Lagaan – be it 30, 15 or even 2, the percentages do not matter,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF.

He added, “Deflect and distract seems to be what’s in play here. The portrayal and grandstanding, as a measure that fully acknowledges and addresses the concerns of developers, is misleading and objectionable”. ADIF urged Google to pay heed to the concerns of all developers, and not just the ones already on their billing system. ADIF had recently filed a suit against Google with the Competition Commission of India in this regard.

Published on October 22, 2021

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