Before Google implements the User Choice Billing System on April 26, policy think tank Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) has asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to conduct an urgent investigation into Google’s “abusive dominance practises.” According to the report, the 11-26% service fee for in-app purchases will spell the end of the Indian startup ecosystem.
“Unfortunately, there is no quorum at the CCI; thus, Google is taking advantage of an institutional lacunae, bringing in user choice billing in haste, harming the start-up story, and also disregarding the CCI order,” ADIF said in a statement.
It also stated that Google will charge 15-30% if consumers pay with Google Pay, or 11-26% if paid otherwise, which would take away nearly one-third of the revenue and severely dent the pockets of OTT platforms.
“This would result in a few OTT platforms becoming unsustainable, or remaining platforms raising consumer fees, hurting millions of OTT subscribers for no fault of their own,” the think tank said.
In October of last year, the CCI imposed a fine of INR 936 Cr for its in-app payments policy. The regulator also ordered Google to “not restrict app developers from using any third-party billing/payment processing services.”
According to ADIF, Google is engaging in these practises despite CCI’s orders and penalties for abusing its dominant position in terms of Play Store policies.
According to ADIF, the new billing policy will take away a significant portion of the revenue generated by Indian app developers and startups, rendering many young startups’ business models unviable, particularly those that rely on in-app purchases, paid apps, or subscriptions.