17 February 2021
Google announced last month that the developers deploying their apps on its Play Store need to offer its billing service to its customers for any in-app purchases. This policy also levies a 30% cut from the payments using Google’s own billing system. Google announced that the policy is effective from January 20, 2021, for the new app submissions and the existing app developers have one year to make necessary changes. The new enforcement is not likable by everyone, of course, and the participating app developers have their reasons to refuse this. Around 150 startups in India have stood up to fight against Google’s “monopoly.” And the first alternative they have explored is Paytm’s very new Mini App Store.
The new Paytm Mini Apps platform is currently available to early access partners of Paytm and the service invites more developers to try its new service. The Indian origin payment service company that later became e-commerce as well is holding its Mini App Developer Conference on October 8 as well where it is expected to elaborate more on the platform.
The Paytm Mini App Store offers one-step login and support for subscription-based payments to its developers. And unlike Google, Paytm does not cut the big 30% chunk for itself, though a 2% charge will be levied on payments made through credit/debit cards and Net Banking. As of now, the Mini App Store only has a few apps listed, although Paytm plans to list 300 services in the coming days.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, co-founder, and CEO, Paytm, said in a statement:
I am proud that we are today launching something that creates an opportunity for every Indian app developer. Paytm mini app store empowers our young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to build new innovative services.
Meanwhile, seeing the disagreement of Indian app developers over the new billing policy, Google has decided to push its enforcement to April 2022. In a statement, Google has reportedly said that it will setup listening sessions with Indian startups to “understand their concerns more deeply.”
Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development of Games & Applications at Google Play, said,
We are setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply. We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies. And we’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system, to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for the subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play — for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system we set a timeline of 31st March 2022.
Google also reiterates in the statement that it pushes no law on the app developers when they deploy their apps directly via a website or any third-party service.
Among the startups that have expressed concerns over Google’s new policy are Paytm, payments processor Razorpay, fantasy sports firm Dream11, social network ShareChat, and business e-commerce IndiaMART. And, more than 50 startups have conveyed their concerns to India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology over a video call on Saturday, Techcrunch cites three people who attended the call.