Amid a huge controversy, tech major Google India has said it'll temporarily reinstate the mobile apps of the developers which were removed from the Google Play Store on March 1, 2024. The development follows a strong reaction from the government as well as the startup industry on the app delisting issue. 

“In the spirit of cooperation, we are temporarily reinstating the apps of the developers with appeals pending in the Supreme Court. Google maintains its right to implement and enforce its business model, as established in various courts,” a Google Spokesperson says with respect to the ongoing Google Play Billing related developments.

The company says it will invoice "full applicable services fees" in the interim and is extending "payment timelines" for these companies. "We look forward to a collaborative effort to find solutions that respect the needs of all parties."

Indian startup founders had earlier lashed out at Google for removing several apps, including Shaadi, BharatMatrimony, Naukri, and 99acres.

The current move by Google, however, comes after the government intervened, and asked both the sides -- Google and delisted app companies -- to talk on the issue. 

Speaking on the issue, Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had earlier said India's policy is very clear, and that its start-ups will get the protection they need. "This kind of de-listing cannot be permitted." 

Notably, this is not the first time Google has faced backlash for its PlayStore policies. The competition watchdog had earlier imposed a penalty worth ₹936.44 crore on it for anti-competitive practices in Play Store policies, saying its policies required the app developers to "exclusively and mandatorily" use Google Play's Billing System (GPBS) not only for receiving payments for apps distributed or sold through the Google Play Store but also for certain in-app purchases.

On Friday last week, Google had warned it would remove "non-compliant" apps in India, saying it is taking "necessary steps" to ensure Play Store policies are applied consistently across the Indian app ecosystem. 

The tech major had said 10 companies, including many well-established ones, had chosen not to pay for the value they receive on Google Play by securing interim protections from the court.

According to Google, allowing these small groups of developers to get differential treatment from the vast majority of developers, who were paying a fair share created an uneven playing field across the ecosystem and put all other apps and games at a competitive disadvantage.

Notably, Google Play charges a service fee when developers sell in-app digital goods. The tech giant says its tiered pricing programmes benefit Indian developers as only 3% of developers in India sell digital goods or services and therefore need to pay a service fee, the vast majority of whom pay 15% or less – the lowest of any major global app store. Less than 60 developers in India are subject to fees above 15%, it said.

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