Indian Startups Unite to Challenge Google Play Billing System

In a significant move, forty Indian startups and companies have joined forces to establish a task force aimed at challenging Google and its Google Play Billing System (GPBS). This initiative is coordinated under the banner of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

The Google Play Billing System (GPBS)

Google’s GPBS has mandated that all in-app purchases must go through its payment gateway, along with imposing a 30 percent commission on such transactions. However, a ruling by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) led Google to replace GPBS with a user-choice billing system in India.

Potential Legal Action

The task force, while exploring various options, has not ruled out the possibility of taking legal action against Google if deemed necessary. Google is scheduled to present before the task force, providing insights that may influence the task force’s subsequent actions. It is worth noting that Google also has a representative within the task force.

IAMAI’s Resolution

Recent developments within IAMAI have added to the context. IAMAI has proposed a resolution suggesting that the chairperson of the organization should be from an Indian firm. Furthermore, the proposal recommends reserving 50 percent of seats on the governing council for Indian companies. The resolution seeks procedural changes to enhance organizational transparency and internal coherence. It stipulates that any new council or committee formation should receive approval through a vote by the executive and governing council.

Upcoming NCLAT Hearing

In a related development, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has scheduled a hearing for Google’s appeal against the CCI’s imposition of a Rs 936.44 crore penalty on November 28. This penalty was imposed on Google for allegedly abusing its dominant market position concerning Play Store policies.

Earlier this year, on January 11, the NCLAT bench had declined Google’s request for interim relief from the penalty, directing the company to deposit 10 percent of the fine with its registry. The matter was then scheduled for a hearing on April 17, 2023.



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