Apple app-store ruling in US echoes among Indian startups

New Delhi: Indian internet entrepreneurs are renewing their demand that Apple and Google also provide local developers with a choice of payment options for in-app purchases, after a US Court
struck down some of the store rules laid down by the iPhone maker.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation, a 350-member grouping of Indian startups, said it expected that app developers in India will also have the option now to choose payment methods outside of the Apple and Google ecosystems.

“We sincerely hope the development will force an introspection on the part of Apple and Google to act less like a toll collector and more like a service provider,” ADIF’s executive director George Kuruvilla said in a statement. “It is critical that the Indian government also enacts laws to ensure the interests of Indian startups and developers are safeguarded.”

Reacting to the Apple app store ruling, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted, “India must review the long due demand of Indian developers and force Google’s Play Store to allow other payment systems in Android apps.”

A US federal judge has struck down some of Apple’s App Store rules, forcing the company to allow developers to send their users to other payment systems in a partial win for ‘Fortnite’ creator Epic Games and other app makers. The judge, however, did not require Apple to let app makers use their own in-app payment systems, one of Epic’s top requests, allowing Apple to continue to charge commissions of 15-30% for its own in-app payment system, news agency Reuters
reported.

ADIF
has petitioned the government to mandate Google and Apple to allow users to make payments for in-app purchases outside of the payment ecosystem of the tech companies. This would also mean that developers could also skirt the commission—going up to 30% for payments for in-app purchases.

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“Such a move will unleash the app economy revolution in India while also putting more money in the hands of developers,” ADIF’s George said.

Global Pressure

Terming the US court ruling as “a landmark judgement”, George said that coming as it does “within a week of the South Korean bill, the judgement signals the global consensus shaping around the anti-competitive practices adopted by Apple and Google in the name of app store policies.”

In what is regarded as a global first, South Korea’s Parliament last month
approved a legislation banning technology platforms, including Google and Apple, from forcing developers and companies to only use their proprietary billing systems.

Last week, Microsoft president Brad Smith
told journalists that more countries could bring in rules in the next year that will mandate such internet platforms to allow more payment mechanisms for developers for in-app purchases.