Google Threatens to Remove Apps from Indian Companies Over Service Fee Dispute

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According to sources reported by Reuters, tech giant Google might take down apps from ten Indian companies, including popular matrimonial apps, due to a disagreement over service fee payments. This move could strain relationships with startup companies.

The conflict stems from startups’ objections to Google imposing a service charge on in-app purchases in India, which ranges from 11 to 26 percent. This decision was made following antitrust authorities’ orders for Google to dismantle its previous fee system, which charged between 15 to 30 percent.

In January and February, Google was given court permission to impose the fee or remove the apps. The Supreme Court’s refusal to grant relief to startups played a significant role in this authorization.

Google, a division of Alphabet Inc., has notified two Indian companies, and Info Edge, about violations on the Play Store. These companies own the BharatMatrimony app and Jeevansathi, respectively. Both companies are reviewing the notifications.

Upon hearing the news, shares of Info Edge and initially dropped by 1.5% and 2.7%, respectively, but have since recovered. Both companies are currently assessing the situation.

In response to Google’s actions, ten Indian companies have chosen not to pay for the services provided on Google Play. Google, citing a Supreme Court ruling from February 9, asserts its right to charge fees.

The Indian startup community, critical of Google’s policies, is worried about the potential removal of apps. Google claims that the fees it charges cover developer tools, analytics services, and investments in the Android OS and app store. Only 3% of the over 200,000 Indian developers on Google Play are subject to the service charge.