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Row with Google: Indian startup founders in no mood to relent

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India's antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), last week has had a meeting with a bunch of head honchos of Indian startups who are up in arms over Google’s alleged misuse of market dominance in the country, especially in the Android apps market.

Google's now deferred 30% commission-based billing policy in India and its alleged role of 'judge and jury' in matters pertaining to Play Store rules have been the bone of contention.

It is not clear as to what exactly transpired at the meeting with the CCI top brass. But the startups team impressed upon the CCI officials that the dominance of Google doesn't bode well for the emerging Indian apps ecosystem.

It is not immediately known whether the CCI was mulling any probe into the issues raised by the startup founders.

Last week's meeting follows the one that a group of Indian startup founders had  with Electronics and IT secretary Ajay Sawhney to express their concerns over Google’s Play Store practices.

Paytm leads the anti-Google movement

The team of startups is being led by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the CEO of Paytm, whose app was temporarily removed from Play Store last month. Ever since that incident, the Paytm CEO has been the rallying point for moves targeting Google's hegemony in the apps space.

It is reported that there is a clear move afoot to come up with an Indian alternative to the Google-helmed Play Store

Paytm has already put in motion for its own mini apps store. Paytm has also launched a  Rs 10 crore developer fund, which will work as an incubator to support Indian app-creators.

An Association to take on Google

Along with this, more than 100 Indian are planning to form an indigenous app developers’ association in a bid to lobby against global technology giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple.

The association, which will be a non-profit and autonomous, is being mooted for championing the cause of app developers in India. 

“We as a group of Indian startup developers will come together to make an independent congregation. They (Google) cannot be a single gatekeeper to the whole Indian internet ecosystem, especially when they claim to be a non-Indian entity. This is similar to the ‘Salt Movement," Paytm founder and chief executive officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma was quoted as saying in media reports.

The Indian Startup Association, it is said, is also planning to sound out  the Coalition For App Fairness, a US-based organisation founded by 13 app publishers to take on Apple and Google’s dominance in the United States, to understand how to structure itself, form its goals and strategy.

Google, Apple on the backfoot

Considering the backlash that it has been receiving in India, it must be said that Google gone defensive. Google has deferred it 30% Play Billing policy for developers to 31 March 2022 in India alone.

It also quickly reinstated Paytm in the Play Store considering the heavy criticism it faced.

Google is also under the lens of CCI over its dominance of the Android TV market in India.

Elsewhere, too, Google, along with Apple is facing the heat. Microsoft has said it would adopt a set of 10 principles for running its app store for Windows devices that could lower the commissions it charges.

Via: Economic Times

Balakumar K

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.