Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a think tank for digital Startups, has called upon Google to reconsider its decision to implement the new Google Play payments policy, as the decision to implement such a policy could have far-reaching consequences for the Indian startup ecosystem. 

Google wants to implement its new Google Play payments policy — User Billing Choice policy—on April 26, 2023. This policy must be put on hold as it would lead to Google charging a nearly 30 per cent service fee on app developers. This will be a significant blow to the Indian startup ecosystem, ADIF said on Tuesday.

Read also: Domestic start-ups cry foul over proposed Google Play’s payments policy changes

The 30 per cent commission would apply to all startups, imparting services such as In-app purchases or subscriptions.

Google’s decision to impose a high service fee on Indian app developers is just one example of how Big Tech companies are exploiting their dominant position in the market to the detriment of smaller players, as this would make many startups unviable, an ADIF spokesperson said.

Google has been called out for its anti-competitive practices in different instances across the globe. Recently, the company was fined $32 million by South Korea’s antitrust regulator for violating the country’s competition laws. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) found that Google’s anti-competitive practices have hindered the development of rivals in the mobile operating system market. 

KFTC also found that Google has restricted rival search engines from being used as the default search engines on Android devices, and has used its dominance to force app developers to use its payment system. According to ADIF, the latest ruling in South Korea highlights the need for greater scrutiny of the tech giant’s business practices in India to promote fair competition in the market.

ADIF believes  that Google’s monopoly over the app store market and its unfair billing practices are significant concerns for the Indian tech industry.

The Indian tech industry has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the malpractices of big tech companies like Google. The abusive anti-competitive practices committed by these companies are adversely affecting the Ease of Doing Business in India. 

Calling on the Indian government and the CCI to take immediate action to address the unfair billing practices of big tech companies and safeguard the interests of Indian app developers, ADIF highlighted the necessity to find a more equitable solution that benefits all stakeholders. The Foundation believes that the Indian tech industry has the potential to become a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. However, this potential can only be realized if the industry is supported by a fair and transparent regulatory framework that protects the interests of all stakeholders, including small and medium-sized enterprises.

ADIF firmly believes that it is vital to implement stronger laws against anti-competitive practices adopted by larger companies to create a fair and competitive market that encourages innovation and fosters growth in the Indian tech industry, the spokesperson added.