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Google pauses in-house billing system in India on antitrust directive

After CCI imposed a penalty of Rs 2,275 crore in two cases and an immediate cease-and-desist order on its policies running the Android Mobile device and Play Store ecosystem, Google in an announcement on Tuesday said that it is pausing its policy that requires app developers to use the Google Play Billing System (GPBS) in India.

In a statement the company said: “Following the CCI’s recent ruling, we are pausing enforcement of the requirement for developers to use Google Play’s billing system for the purchase of digital goods and services for transactions by users in India while we review our legal options and ensure we can continue to invest in Android and Play.”

The statement also said: “The requirement to use Google Play’s billing system applies for in-app digital content purchases for users outside of India.”

Developers in India were given an additional extension until October 31, 2022 to comply due to unique circumstances with the payments landscape in the country.

These changes were announced in 2020, when Google said that all developers selling digital goods and services in their apps are required to use GPBS. Apps using an alternative in-app billing system will need to remove it in order to comply with the Payments policy.

Starting June 1, 2022, any app that is still not compliant will be removed from Google Play. Developers in India were given an additional extension until October 31, 2022. GPBS must be used for buying digital items (such as virtual currencies); subscription services; app functionality or content (such as an ad-free version of an app), and cloud software and services (such as data storage services).

CCI in its observation in the Play Store case stated that Google is abusing its dominant position in the Play Store to force app developers to use its in-app payment system. The CCI imposed a fine of Rs 937 crore for following anti-competitive practices in its Play Store ecosystem. Business Standard

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