Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a 350-member grouping of Indian entrepreneurs and startups, has approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) seeking interim relief against Google’s policy changes for Play Store scheduled to come into effect starting March 31, 2022.
The ADIF has released a statement calling out the devastating ramifications of Google’s revised policy, suggesting that it will lead to a “destructive effect on the operating margins of a large number of startups and make their business models infeasible.” They have also petitioned before the CCI to grant them interim relief while the new policy is being scrutinised by the statutory body for implied abuse of dominance by Google in the app market.
Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF said “ADIF foresees that barring an order passed by this Hon’ble Commission to maintain status-quo until the completion of the ongoing inquiry, Google shall proceed to enforce its terms on the Play Store, thereby leading to adverse and irreversible consequences on India’s fledgling startup ecosystem,” in the press statement.
The policy change state that the tech giant will begin charging an industry-standard 30 per cent commission fee on all transactions for developers selling digital goods using Google Play Store and its in-app payment system. Google also stated that app developers on the platform will only be authorised to use the Google Billing System (GBS) henceforth.
Moreover, while seeking interim relief from the policy until the CCI announces its judgement regarding the probe, ADIF, which represents the interests of various stakeholders such as startups and app developers, also expressed its concern for the country’s innovation system that will be harmed due to the destabilisation of cost structures and disruption of margins for many industries.
Google had first announced changes to its Play Store policy last year in September, revealing that it would come into effect in January 2021. However, Google later stated in October that its implementation is being delayed due to backlash from app developers and the market.