Google is postponing the application of its new Play Store billing policy in India to April 2022, days after more than 150 startups in the world’s second largest internet market forged an informal coalition to express concern about the 30 % that the Android maker intends to impose on its store and has started exploring an alternative market for their apps.
The company, which will be active globally with the new Play Store rule in September 2021, is postponing enforcement of the policy to India only, it said. It is also listening to the developers and willing to take action to allay their concerns, he said.
“We are organizing listening sessions with major Indian startups to understand their concerns more fully. We will organize policy workshops to clarify any additional Play Store policy questions. Additionally, we are extending the time for developers in India to integrate with Play̵
“We have always said that developers should be able to choose how to distribute their apps and that stores should compete for the activities of consumers and developers,” he added.
Last week, Google said it will no longer allow any apps to bypass its payment system within the Play Store. The move, launched by Google as a “clarification” of its existing policy, would allow the company to ensure it gets a cut of up to 30% on in-app purchases made through Android apps operating across a range of categories.
Google’s announcement today is a direct response to the highest ratings it has received in a decade in India, its largest market from users but also a place where it generates little revenue compared to Western markets. Last week, more than 150 startups in India formed an informal coalition to combat the company’s strong hold on the Indian app ecosystem. Google controls 99% of India’s smartphone market, according to research firm Counterpoint.
Among the startups that have expressed concern over Google’s new policy are Paytm, India’s most valuable startup, payment processor Razorpay, fantasy sports company Dream11, social network ShareChat and corporate e-commerce IndiaMART. .
According to three people who attended the call, more than 50 Indian executives relayed these concerns to India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology during a video call on Saturday.
Several companies in India have long expressed concern about how Google has enforced its policies in India, but the matter escalated last month after the company temporarily pulled the Paytm app from the Play Store to promote the game. of gambling.
Google said Paytm has repeatedly violated its policies, and the company’s Play Store has long banned apps that promote gambling in India. In recent weeks, Google has sent out communications regarding gambling warnings to many other companies in India.
A senior industry executive told TechCrunch that the company should have voiced these concerns months before the popular IPL cricket tournament began. Fantasy sports apps allow users to choose their favorite players and teams. These players can win real money or points which they can redeem for physical goods based on the real world performance of their favorite teams and players. The IPL season sees a huge increase in the popularity of such fantasy sports apps.
“The IPL has even been delayed for months. Why has Google waited so long? And why does the company have a problem with so-called gambling in India when it allows such activities in other markets? The Indian government has no problem, “the executive said, requesting anonymity.
Paytm mini app store
Paytm announced its mini-app store on Monday with several popular services including taxi company Ola, health care provides 1mg, and Practo, fitness startup Cure.fit, music streaming service Gaana, the provider of Zoomcar car hire, Booking.com, Faasos, Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s restaurants. The startup said more than 300 companies have signed up for its mini store and that its app reaches more than 150 million users every month. (In a written statement to TechCrunch, Paytm said in June that its app has reached more than 50 million users in India every month.
Paytm, which says its mini-app store is open to any developer, will provide a range of features including the ability to support subscriptions and one-step login. The startup, which claims it doesn’t charge developers any fees for using its payment system or UPI payment infrastructure, but will charge a 2% fee on “other tools like credit cards.”
“There are many challenges with traditional mobile apps, such as maintaining multiple code bases across platforms (iOS, Android or Web), acquiring expensive users and the requirement for app release and therefore a waiting period for user adoption for any changes made in the app. Launching as a mini app gives you freedom from all these problems: resulting in lower development / test and maintenance costs that help you reach millions of Paytm users in one blink of an eye, “the Indian company said in its speech.
The launch of a mini-store further strengthens Paytm’s drive, backed by Alibaba, to transform itself into a super app. Its main rivals, Walmart-backed PhonePe and Google Pay, also run similar mini stores on their apps.
Whether Paytm’s mini app store and the postponement of Google’s new Play Store policy are enough to calm the complaints of other startups remains to be seen. PhonePe is not one of the mini apps in the Paytm store, a Paytm spokesperson told TechCrunch.
“I am proud that today we are launching something that creates an opportunity for every Indian app developer. The Paytm mini app store allows our young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to create innovative new services,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, co-founder and chief executive of Paytm, in a statement.