Info Edge, Matrimony Cofounders Cry Foul After Google Delists More Apps

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SUMMARY

Info Edge’s cofounder, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, revealed on March 2 that they received information about the action just a few hours before the takedown, expressing their complete surprise

This comes after Bikhchandani had earlier said that no apps published by Info Edge were impacted by Google’s delisting spree

On March 1, Google delisted five of Info Edge’s apps — the flagship Naukri app, Naukri Recruiter, Naukrigulf Job Search App, 99acres and Shiksha — from the Play Store

A day after Google removed 10 popular Indian apps, including five of Info Edge-owned businesses, over failing to comply with its billing policies, the internet company’s cofounder Sanjeev Bikhchandani on Saturday (March 2) said that they were intimated about the move just a few hours before the take down.

On Friday (March 1), Google delisted five of Info Edge’s apps —  the flagship Naukri app, Naukri Recruiter, Naukrigulf Job Search App, 99acres and Shiksha  — from the Play Store. However, the company’s matrimony business Jeevansathi is still available on the app marketplace.

“The app in contention was Jeevansaathi. We complied with that on February 9. We never received any notice or communication from Google about any of our other apps being non-compliant. We finally got communication just a few hours before 99acres and Naukri were delisted. We were taken totally by surprise. We are in touch with Google,” Bikhchandani told Inc42.

This comes after Bikhchandani had earlier said that no apps published by Info Edge were impacted by Google’s delisting spree.

Meanwhile, cofounder and CEO of Matrimony, Murugavel Janakiraman told Inc42, “Google yesterday night deleted all our apps. Over 100 of our apps have been deleted. We are completely out of Play Store, which means out of the business. Whether you are big are small, what Google is saying is that if you don’t accept their monopoly behaviour they will delist.”

The company runs an array of matrimony platforms including Bharat Matrimony.

In an exchange filing, Info Edge said, “This action comes as a surprise to the company, as it was done without due and sufficient notice.”

The company is currently reviewing the situation, evaluating the next steps and working with Google to reinstate its mobile applications on the Google Play Store promptly. Users with already downloaded applications can continue to use them, and those accessing the applications through other platforms or web platforms remain unaffected by this change.

In addition, all users who are using the company’s mobile applications through other platforms (such as the Apple App Store) or the concerned web platforms, are not impacted by this change.

Other than Info Edge’s apps, Google also cracked the whip on Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Truly Madly, STAGE, ALTT, Kuku FM, and QuackQuack.

It is pertinent to note that last month the Supreme Court declined to issue an interim order safeguarding internet firms like Matrimony.com and Shaadi.com from potential delisting from Google’s Play Store on February 9. This decision opened the path for Google to proceed with the delisting. The apex court is slated to hear appeals from startups contesting Google’s app billing policy on March 19.

Google’s Non-Compliance With The CCI Order

The CCI in its order dated October 25, 2022 found Google guilty of abusing its dominant position and imposed eight behavioural remedies, including a penalty of INR 936.44 Cr.

Earlier, app developers in the non-gaming sector had the freedom to choose their billing system, such as Razorpay or Google’s proprietary Google Play Billing System (GPBS). Currently, app developers prefer non-GPBS payment modes as they avoid paying commissions to Google, resulting in 80% of transactions being non-GPBS, chosen by end-users. Google aimed to mandate GPBS exclusively, removing developers’ choices, but the CCI deemed this abusive and issued remedial directions.

Google introduced the User Choice Billing system (UCB) as a repackaging of GPBS to bypass CCI’s remedies. Under GPBS, some developers were compelled to pay a commission of 15-30%, removing their free commercial choice. CCI criticized Google for such anti-competitive conditions. Through UCB, Google allows alternative payment solutions but still imposes a reduced service fee, leading to an adjusted fee of 11%-26%, even for transactions outside GPBS. This exceeds the 30% total commission, impacting app developers’ revenue and harming the ecosystem.

Violation Of CCI’s Remedial Directions

Google was directed by the CCI to cease and desist from its anti-competitive and abusive practices but it has failed to do so. Thus, CCI has initiated a non-compliance proceedings against Google on May 12, 2023 and on February 27, 2024, it completed the hearing in the said contravention matter and reserved its judgment.

Following the conclusion of CCI hearings and while awaiting the reserved order on March 1, 2024, Google initiated the delisting of apps belonging to developers who resisted its anti-competitive UCB Policy. The move raises concerns about Google’s compliance with CCI directives, particularly those aimed at preventing restrictions on third-party billing/payment processing services for app developers, a matter currently under the CCI’s examination.

Reviewed by Inc42, this information is part of a note by a lawyer discussing the CCI case.




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Info Edge, Matrimony Cofounders Cry Foul After Google Delists More Apps

SUMMARY

Info Edge’s cofounder, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, revealed on March 2 that they received information about the action just a few hours before the takedown, expressing their complete surprise

This comes after Bikhchandani had earlier said that no apps published by Info Edge were impacted by Google’s delisting spree

On March 1, Google delisted five of Info Edge’s apps — the flagship Naukri app, Naukri Recruiter, Naukrigulf Job Search App, 99acres and Shiksha — from the Play Store

A day after Google removed 10 popular Indian apps, including five of Info Edge-owned businesses, over failing to comply with its billing policies, the internet company’s cofounder Sanjeev Bikhchandani on Saturday (March 2) said that they were intimated about the move just a few hours before the take down.

On Friday (March 1), Google delisted five of Info Edge’s apps —  the flagship Naukri app, Naukri Recruiter, Naukrigulf Job Search App, 99acres and Shiksha  — from the Play Store. However, the company’s matrimony business Jeevansathi is still available on the app marketplace.

“The app in contention was Jeevansaathi. We complied with that on February 9. We never received any notice or communication from Google about any of our other apps being non-compliant. We finally got communication just a few hours before 99acres and Naukri were delisted. We were taken totally by surprise. We are in touch with Google,” Bikhchandani told Inc42.

This comes after Bikhchandani had earlier said that no apps published by Info Edge were impacted by Google’s delisting spree.

Meanwhile, cofounder and CEO of Matrimony, Murugavel Janakiraman told Inc42, “Google yesterday night deleted all our apps. Over 100 of our apps have been deleted. We are completely out of Play Store, which means out of the business. Whether you are big are small, what Google is saying is that if you don’t accept their monopoly behaviour they will delist.”

The company runs an array of matrimony platforms including Bharat Matrimony.

In an exchange filing, Info Edge said, “This action comes as a surprise to the company, as it was done without due and sufficient notice.”

The company is currently reviewing the situation, evaluating the next steps and working with Google to reinstate its mobile applications on the Google Play Store promptly. Users with already downloaded applications can continue to use them, and those accessing the applications through other platforms or web platforms remain unaffected by this change.

In addition, all users who are using the company’s mobile applications through other platforms (such as the Apple App Store) or the concerned web platforms, are not impacted by this change.

Other than Info Edge’s apps, Google also cracked the whip on Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Truly Madly, STAGE, ALTT, Kuku FM, and QuackQuack.

It is pertinent to note that last month the Supreme Court declined to issue an interim order safeguarding internet firms like Matrimony.com and Shaadi.com from potential delisting from Google’s Play Store on February 9. This decision opened the path for Google to proceed with the delisting. The apex court is slated to hear appeals from startups contesting Google’s app billing policy on March 19.

Google’s Non-Compliance With The CCI Order

The CCI in its order dated October 25, 2022 found Google guilty of abusing its dominant position and imposed eight behavioural remedies, including a penalty of INR 936.44 Cr.

Earlier, app developers in the non-gaming sector had the freedom to choose their billing system, such as Razorpay or Google’s proprietary Google Play Billing System (GPBS). Currently, app developers prefer non-GPBS payment modes as they avoid paying commissions to Google, resulting in 80% of transactions being non-GPBS, chosen by end-users. Google aimed to mandate GPBS exclusively, removing developers’ choices, but the CCI deemed this abusive and issued remedial directions.

Google introduced the User Choice Billing system (UCB) as a repackaging of GPBS to bypass CCI’s remedies. Under GPBS, some developers were compelled to pay a commission of 15-30%, removing their free commercial choice. CCI criticized Google for such anti-competitive conditions. Through UCB, Google allows alternative payment solutions but still imposes a reduced service fee, leading to an adjusted fee of 11%-26%, even for transactions outside GPBS. This exceeds the 30% total commission, impacting app developers’ revenue and harming the ecosystem.

Violation Of CCI’s Remedial Directions

Google was directed by the CCI to cease and desist from its anti-competitive and abusive practices but it has failed to do so. Thus, CCI has initiated a non-compliance proceedings against Google on May 12, 2023 and on February 27, 2024, it completed the hearing in the said contravention matter and reserved its judgment.

Following the conclusion of CCI hearings and while awaiting the reserved order on March 1, 2024, Google initiated the delisting of apps belonging to developers who resisted its anti-competitive UCB Policy. The move raises concerns about Google’s compliance with CCI directives, particularly those aimed at preventing restrictions on third-party billing/payment processing services for app developers, a matter currently under the CCI’s examination.

Reviewed by Inc42, this information is part of a note by a lawyer discussing the CCI case.




Source link

Disclaimer

We strive to uphold the highest ethical standards in all of our reporting and coverage. We StartupNews.fyi want to be transparent with our readers about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise in our work. It’s possible that some of the investors we feature may have connections to other businesses, including competitors or companies we write about. However, we want to assure our readers that this will not have any impact on the integrity or impartiality of our reporting. We are committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news and information to our audience, and we will continue to uphold our ethics and principles in all of our work. Thank you for your trust and support.

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