Google extends Play Store billing deadline for developers to Oct 31, 2022

Google extends Play Store billing deadline for developers to Oct 31, 2022
Photo Credit: Pixabay
10 Dec, 2021

Delivering a relief, Google has extended the deadline for developers using alternate billing systems to switch to the Play Store billing system by another six months. 

“In October 2020, we had announced 31st March 2022 as the timeline for developers in India to integrate with Play’s billing system. We are extending this to 31st October 2022,” a spokesperson said on Friday. “We recognise the unique needs of the developer ecosystem in India and remain committed to partnering with developers in India on their growth journey,” the spokesperson added. 

The decision to extend the deadline was taken “to provide developers in India the required product support for recurring payments through convenient user payment systems, including unified payment interface (UPI) and wallets, and also provide them more time in light of the changes to India’s recurring digital payments guidelines,” the spokesperson added. 

Also read: Android games will natively work on Windows 10, 11 PCs: Google 

Until a few months ago, Google was charging 30% commission from developers for in-app purchases and subscriptions for the first year and 15% thereafter. Due to the high Play Store fees, many developers bypassed the Play Store billing and were using alternate billing systems. After continuous backlash from developers, in October, Google slashed Play Store commission from 30% to 15%. 

According to Google, the Play Store commission only applies to developers who sell digital content in their apps and currently only 3% of developers on Google Play Store fall under that category. Google also reiterates that only 3% of developers pay a fee, and of that small percentage, 99% of developers globally qualify for a service fee of just 15% or less. 

Google's decision to extend the deadline till the end of October 2022 has been welcomed by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a think tank that has 422 Indian startups as members. The industry body believes the extension would certainly give developers a short-term relief. However, they objected to the reason given by the Alphabet company to extend the deadline. 

According to ADIF, the core issue for developers is the gatekeeper fee of 15-30% on a select category of apps and restrictions on the use of other payment options and Google has again failed to address that. 

“The reality is that app owners have been in a very tough spot as they are unsure if they should unwillingly comply with Google’s new policies and be hopeful of a CCI’s intervention on the interim relief petition for maintaining the status quo. Google’s deadline extension certainly gives them more time but doesn’t take away their uncertainty,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF. 

In October, ADIF had moved the Competition Commission of India (CCI) seeking interim relief for developers from the Play Store policy that was earlier going to be enforced after March. ADIF had argued that forcing developers to use only the Play Store billing will have a “destructive effect” on developers. 

CCI is already investigating Google for exclusivity regarding the mode of payment for apps and in-app purchases on the Play Store. 

Both Google and Apple have restricted developers from using alternate billing systems. However, in November, Google had to relax this rule in South Korea, following a government order that requires all app store providers to let developers use alternative payment systems on their apps.