Business Insights

Indian App Store Saga


Indian startups founders want to build an Indian AppStore. There were several rounds of discussions held between Indian entrepreneurs for launching an Indian App Store. More than 50 leading technology entrepreneurs are holding hands to petition the government looking for help to make an overall Indian advanced application environment to counter what they see as the predominance of US technology giants Google and Apple.

But, why do Indian entrepreneurs want to launch an Indian App Store?

So, it all started on 18th September, when Paytm was removed temporarily from Google Play Store. According to Google, Paytm is promoting Online Casinos or sports betting in India which is strictly prohibited in Google’s Play Store policies and Paytm has repeatedly violated these policies. But after a few hours, Paytm was restored on Google’s Play Store.

After this incident, Paytm and Google were indulged into a war of words. In a blogpost on September 20, Paytm alluded to an unreasonable takedown of the application while Google Pay application and Tez Shots campaign kept on running. In answer, Google gave an announcement explaining that Google Pay cashback and stickers don’t disregard its policies.

But this is not the end of the story. Google has also sent notices to some other apps like Swiggy, Zomato in which it was stated that the in-app gamification feature is not allowed and it’s against the policies.

But regarding these notices, some of the Industry said that “For both the food delivery companies, major cricketing event IPL has been touted as the best time to garner a larger share of consumer minds as well as wallets, and gamification features were a part of increasing engagement on the app as Zomato and Swiggy do not operate any gaming platforms.”

Now after a few days, Google has made it mandatory for all apps to use its billing system those who sell digital goods and has to pay 30% commission. Google’s explanation comes as the firm faces allegations of having anti-competitive policies around the world, most as of late by Fortnite-creator Epic Games, which has sued the firm after being restricted from the Play Store.

But this is not a new policy, Google has always taken a 30% commission on transactions. This will apply to less than 3 per cent of developers who are not using Google Play Billing. The policy would come into effect from January 20, 2021 and include categories like fitness, game, dating, education, video, music, and other content apps.

The Indian developers have protested against this step and argued that the policy would be going to affect the small businesses a lot and not able to grow successfully. After mounting protests by Indian developers, Google has decided to defer the enforcement of 30% commission on in-app purchases of digital goods until April 2022.

After reading all these incidents you must be wondering… What can India do about this?

India as of now has an application store for government-driven applications, which can be scaled up. The Indian Government is not against the idea of launching its own app store. The current digital store for government applications, created by the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), has a huge number of applications, for example, e-governance app Umang, storage app DigiLocker, and health app Aarogya Setu. But experts say it won’t be easy for India to make an Indian App Store. It requires a lot of investments and security concerns are also there.

Recently, Paytm has launched its Android Mini App Store to reinforce Indian developers. Indeed, this step would further heat the war between Paytm and Google. Paytm has said in a statement that, “Paytm is providing listing and distribution of these mini-apps within its app without any charges and for payments, developers will be able to give a choice of Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank, UPI, net-banking and Cards to their users. More than 300 app-based service providers such as Decathalon, Ola, Park+, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, NoBroker have already joined the programme.”

We believe, the step taken by Paytm would further force the Indian entrepreneurs and Government to think about launching a full-fledged Indian App Store and defeat the “Google’s Dominance.”

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