Kuku FM and Shaadi.com Appeal Against Google Play Store Billing Policy

Kuku FM and Shaadi.com appeal to NCLAT against CCI's decision regarding Google Play Store billing policy.

  • Kuku FM and Shaadi.com appeal to NCLAT against CCI’s decision regarding Google Play Store billing policy.
  • Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation also moves an appeal; matter to be considered further on May 24.
  • Google’s new billing system introduced in 2023 faces criticism, startups seek interim protection from service fees.

Kuku FM and Shaadi.com, along with other startups, have taken their concerns about Google Play Store billing policy to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), challenging the decision made by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The CCI’s ruling declined to stay Google’s user choice billing system, allowing the tech giant to delist apps not complying with it. The Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation has also appealed in this matter, with further consideration scheduled for May 24.

The dispute arose when Google introduced its new billing system in 2023, imposing a service fee of 11% to 26% on downloads of paid apps and in-app purchases made through the Play Store. While developers have the option to choose a third-party billing system, many startups seek interim protection from Google’s service fees until the CCI completes its investigation into the policy. However, their request was not granted, leading to the appeal to NCLAT.

The startups argue that the CCI’s decision overlooked crucial facts and evidence, asserting that Google’s user choice billing system is merely a repackaged version of its previous billing system. With the NCLAT appeal hearings looming, the outcome could significantly impact the ongoing discussions between Google and emerging startups regarding service fee arrangements.