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Sustaining Google Play as a valuable partner to India’s app ecosystem

Over the past decade, Google has been deeply committed to the growth of India’s app ecosystem. Our investments in Android and Google Play have helped Indian developers create jobs, go to market faster, grow financially, and reach global audiences. We fund these investments in part through a service fee applied when a developer on Google Play sells in-app digital goods or services. We think it is a sensible model as the platform only makes money when a developer makes money, so our success is aligned with theirs.

On Android, developers have many ways to distribute their apps to users. Most Android devices come with two or more app stores preloaded right out of the box, and users can install others. In India, many consumers get their apps from a combination of app stores and other methods such as sideloading, so our incentive is to continually provide the best platform, tools, and resources to compete in the market and enable developer businesses to thrive. For example, in addition to basic services such as payment processing, Google Play enables developers in India to:

  • Provide a safe and secure experience to their users. We have built and operate the largest malware scanning system in the world that analyzes over 125 billion apps daily to keep consumers safe.
  • Reach 2.5 billion monthly active users in 190 markets.
  • Understand their audience and identify growth opportunities with powerful data and analytics dashboards in the Play Console.
  • Run experiments, beta test new features, optimize store listings, analyze performance, and more to improve their apps.
  • Monetize their apps and in-app content conveniently and safely in more than 180 global markets with our commerce platform that provides easy access to local payments – including UPI and recharge codes – and monetization tools.
  • Deploy Google’s generative AI advancements to better showcase apps, help users discover new titles, along with other updates recently announced at Google I/O. We also recently introduced new monetization tools and features to help developers boost their revenue with Google Play’s commerce platform.

Because of this immense value that we provide, developers in India and around the world have found Google Play to be a great tool to help them build and grow their business, and our investments in Android and Google Play would not be sustainable without our service fee model.

Google Play’s service fees are the lowest among major app stores

Our service fees only apply when a developer sells digital goods or services in their app. Today, only 3% of developers in India sell digital goods or services and therefore would need to pay a service fee.

For the vast majority of developers, our fees are 15% or less — the lowest rates of any major app store — due to the range of pricing programs Google Play offers. To further put this in context, we estimate less than 60 of the over 200,000 Indian developers on Google Play currently could pay a service fee of above 15%. And this fee is further reduced by 4% if a user pays through an alternative billing system to fairly reflect that Google Play’s billing system has not been used.

In 2020, we clarified the requirements of our Payments policy and developers in India have had considerable time to make the necessary changes to their apps. We're respectfully following the CCI’s October 2022 order, and in compliance with that order, we expanded user choice billing to all developers in India and updated our policy that went into effect starting April 26, 2023.

The three billing options available to developers are:

  • Integrate Google Play’s billing system, enabling them to easily transact with millions of customers around the world and give their users safe ways to pay and the ability to manage their payments from a central location.
  • Offer an alternative billing system alongside Google Play’s for users in India. App developers expanding in international markets can also enroll as part of our user choice billing pilot currently available in 35 markets.
  • Operate on a consumption-only basis without paying a service fee, even if it is part of a paid service. With this option, any developer could allow a user to login when the app opens and access content paid for somewhere else.

Most developers globally have already elected one of these routes. In India, now that the deadline has passed, we are informing developers in the country who have not yet implemented one of these options that we will be taking necessary steps to ensure our policy is applied fairly. We continue to comply with local laws and cooperate with local proceedings, as applicable.

We remain committed to the success of the Indian app ecosystem, and look forward to Google Play enriching the lives of even more users by connecting them with helpful apps, enabling more developers to build sustainable global businesses, and achieving this with the assurance of a safe and secure ecosystem.