Startups prepare to go head-to-head with Google in court
More companies may be planning legal action against Google as several startups, including Unacademy, Kuku FM, TrulyMadly, and QuackQuack, have lodged a petition with the Madras High Court. They are contesting Google's notice, which mandates the use of Google's billing system or face expulsion from the Play Store. The report cites individuals familiar with the matter. These businesses have joined Matrimony.com and Shaadi.com in challenging Google's billing policies and seeking intervention from the court.
Matrimony.com has obtained a temporary injunction from the High Court against Google, which will remain in effect until June 8. Meanwhile, other businesses are reportedly contemplating joining the legal battle. Some companies have already initiated legal proceedings, while others are said to be in discussions with their legal teams. The expanded list of challengers allegedly includes Disney+ and Hotstar, as they have also received a warning from Google and are planning to seek a stay through the courts.
Despite Google's attempts, the Madras High Court prevented the removal of Matrimony.com apps from the Play Store before June 1, thanks to the stay granted. Google is expected to present its arguments before June 8, which marks the expiration of the deadline.
Google has sent notification emails to several companies, stating:
"Your app uses a non-Google Play billing system to accept payment for access to in-app features or services including any app functionality, digital content or goods (collectively ‘in app purchases’). Your app may be removed from our distribution, limited on Google Play if you do not resolve this issue," reads one of such emails reportedly seen by ET.”
Google will “take necessary steps”
In a blog post published earlier this month, Google issued a warning to Indian developers who had not implemented one of the recommended solutions, stating that the company would be compelled to "take necessary steps" against them.
"Most developers globally have already elected one of these routes. In India, now that the deadline has passed, we are informing developers in the country who have not yet implemented one of these options that we will be taking necessary steps to ensure our policy is applied fairly. We continue to comply with local laws and cooperate with local proceedings, as applicable," Google said in the blog post.
Following the recommendations put forth by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Google introduced a user-selectable billing option earlier this year. Under this update, Google announced that users who opted for an alternative billing method would receive a 4% reduction in the subscription cost on Google Play. Consequently, app developers operating within this billing framework are required to pay Google a commission of either 11% or 26%.