Navigating the Google Play Store Quandary: Indian Developers at a Crossroads

App Developers vs. Tech Giant: Unraveling the Google Play Store Billing Turmoil in India


source: economictimes

In a recent turn of events, Indian app developers, including big players like Shaadi,, and Bharat Matrimony, found themselves compelled to comply with Google Play Store billing rules. Delisted briefly, these apps, along with others like Naukri, Kuku FM, and QuackQuack, faced the dilemma of choosing between Google Play’s billing system and alternative options. The ramifications of this decision have triggered a ripple effect, leading to a clash between developers and the tech giant, raising questions about fairness, market dominance, and regulatory oversight.

The Google Play Billing Conundrum

Google’s billing options, including a consumption-only model and the conventional 15% or 30% service fee, have left developers in a tight spot. While some opt for the consumption-only model to evade immediate charges, others grudgingly comply with fee structure. The discontent among developers culminated in seeking government intervention and engagement with India’s antitrust watchdog.

Developers’ Grievances and Allegations

Lal Chand Bisu, CEO of Kuku FM, vocalized concerns about Google’s alleged preferential treatment towards large companies like Spotify. Bisu’s claim, echoing sentiments shared by others, suggests a divide-and-rule strategy, where negotiations with select companies lead to reduced ‘Google tax.‘ The apparent secrecy surrounding deals, exemplified by Spotify’s exemption, further fuels developers’ frustration.

Distribution Woes and Economic Impact

A key issue raised by developers is the economic burden imposed by Google’s fees. Anupam Mittal, founder of, highlights the significant revenue loss experienced by companies due to the existing fee structure. The discontent extends beyond financial implications, with startups emphasizing the additional marketing expenses required to drive app installs.

The Larger Landscape: Open Internet vs. Closed App Ecosystem

Anupam Mittal’s assertion ties into a broader debate about the evolution of the internet ecosystem. Developers argue that Google and Apple are steering towards a closed app ecosystem, wielding control over the internet economy. The concerns raised indicate a pivotal struggle between maintaining an open internet and the tech giants’ pursuit of absolute dominance.

The Role of Alternative App Store

While alternative app stores exist on Android, their impact remains limited. PhonePe’s Indus App Store, for instance, is in its nascent stage. Developers express skepticism about these alternatives, emphasizing the indispensability of the Play Store for app distribution.

Google’s Defense and Developers’ Response

Google defends its position by offering multiple compliance options, asserting that a minimal number of developers face fees above 15%. The company highlights a three-year grace period and a three-week post-Supreme Court plea rejection grace period. However, developers contest this, seeking regulatory intervention.

Seeking Regulatory Action

Frustrated developers, led by figures like Sanjeev Bikchandani and Snehil Khanor, have turned to regulatory bodies. The Competition Commission for India (CCI) faces requests to address actions, with allegations of non-compliance with earlier rulings.

As the clash between Indian developers and intensifies, the broader implications for the global app ecosystem come to light. The intricate interplay between economic considerations, regulatory intervention, and the quest for a fair and level playing field underscores the complexity of the situation. The coming days will likely witness further developments, shaping the future of app development and distribution in India.

Exit mobile version