Google will start to support a third-party billing system for Google Play Store purchases in India on April 26 as the Android-maker begins complying with the local regulatory directions in the key overseas market.
Google said in a support page Thursday that it is offering “all developers” serving users in India the option to use an alternative billing system and outlined the steps developers need to follow to avail the option. The change is in “response to recent regulatory developments” in the South Asian market, the company said.
If a user pays through an alternative billing system, Google’s Play service fee will be reduced by 4%, the company said.
Google was slapped with a $161 million fine by the Competition Commission of India last year and was ordered to make a series of stringent changes to its business practices in the country. While Google continues to challenge the decision, it said last month that it will comply with the order.
Google said it will also give consumers the ability to switch their preferred search engine on Android and allow smartphone vendors in the country to license individual apps for pre-installation on their Android-powered devices.
Some have argued that Google is not fully complying with the order, however. Epic Games, the video game giant behind the popular title Fortnite, alleged earlier this month that Google was not fully complying with the Indian Supreme Court’s order, picking the key overseas market to escalate its global battle with the Android maker.
In an application to an Indian tribunal, Epic alleged that despite pledging to make key changes to business practices surrounding Android, Google is not permitting download of competing app stores through the Google Play Store and consumers in India are also not able to uninstall pre-loaded Google apps from their handsets.
Google cautioned last month that implementation of the changes across the ecosystem “will be a complex process and will require significant work at our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers.”
India is a major market for Google, where it has amassed over half a billion users. Over 97% of all smartphones in India are powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, according to research firm Counterpoint. Google has poured billions in the country over the past decade and is in the process of investing another $10 billion.
“Our commitment to Indian users and the country’s digital transformation stands undeterred,” the company said last month. Google had earlier warned that complying with the regulatory directions could lead to proliferation of unchecked apps that will pose threats for individual and national security.