Indian Startups Take Legal Route Against Google’s New User Billing System

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A coalition of Indian startups, led by advocacy group Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), has filed a plea in the Delhi High Court to suspend Google’s new user choice billing system in India until the Competition Commission of India (CCI) investigates the company for not complying with antitrust directives. The digital coalition alleges that Google has devised a new system that still charges startups and developers hefty commissions despite directives to allow the use of third-party billing services for in-app payments. Google currently charges developers 15-30% as service fees for using Google’s proprietary payments system, but under the new directives, the developers will be liable for just a 4% rebate despite using none of the tech major’s resources.

The plea comes ahead of Google’s April 26 deadline for the implementation of the user choice billing system. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had penalized Google INR 936 Cr for forcing developers to use its in-app payments system, which was considered an abuse of market dominance. Google denied the claims, but it made changes to its Play Store policies, introducing the user choice billing system, which allows developers to deploy other payment options. However, developers still have to pay hefty commissions to use such systems if they list their apps on Google’s app marketplace. The new user choice billing system has also come under fire from Indian startups, who are alleging that Google is not complying with antitrust directives and fines.