Indian startup firms are reportedly working to form an alliance to launch their own platform to host local apps in order to reduce their reliance on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Startup entrepreneurs are concerned about Google’s “monopolistic” hold on India and the unfair enforcement of Play Store’s guidelines in the country. Its Android operating system commands a footprint of 99% in the Indian smartphone ecosystem.
Companies including Paytm, Policybazaar and Sharechat are planning to approach the country’s banking regulator and Finance Ministry to seek redressal for Google’s move to increase its commission on purchases made on its app store.
Google recently announced that starting next year developers with an app on Google Play Store must give the company a cut of as much as 30% of several app-related payments. This will include entertainment, dating and fitness apps. It evoked sharp reactions on social media, and many called for the establishment of an Indian app store.
Dozens of startup founders and executives attended a call on Tuesday to discuss the best way forward, various media outlets report. They also want government support for the creation of an Indian digital app ecosystem.
Last month Google temporarily pulled Paytm and Paytm First Games apps from its Play Store, citing violations of its gambling policies. Paytm described the ban as “arm-twisting,” and said Google’s action was unjustified.
Paytm claimed it had not violated any Play Store norms and alleged that Google didn’t give it an opportunity to explain its new cashback sticker feature ahead of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, which is currently underway in the United Arab Emirates.
Paytm’s CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma recently said in a TV interview, “This is the problem of India’s app ecosystem. So many founders have reached out to us… if we believe this country can build digital business, we must know that it is at somebody else’s hand to bless that business and not this country’s rules and regulations.”
Google’s payments app, Google Pay, competes with Paytm in India. In fact, Google Pay is the largest payments app for peer-to-peer transactions between users in India, and holds the largest market share in the unified payments interface platform.
Food delivery startups Swiggy and Zomato also received notices regarding their cashback and offers related to the Indian Premier League. Both took remedial actions.