Can Paytm and other Indian startups take on the mighty Google?
Noida-based digital payments company Paytm on Monday ran a full-page advertisement on the front pages of almost all the local newspapers in India declaring it has launched a mini-app store on Paytm, pitting it against Google’s Play Store.
In the past couple of weeks, Google has risen as a common enemy of Indian technology startups as it not only removed a handful of apps from the Play Store, it also made the use of its billing system mandatory for all in-app purchases. Further, it said it would enforce 30% commission to companies for every in-app purchases. It’s to be noted that Google Play has a monopoly in India since its mobile operating system Android enjoys 95% of the market share in the country.
Ever since the announcement, Indian founders have been trying to find ways to get away with the “Google tax.” Dozens of startups such as the founders of Paytm, GOQii, India Quotient, A91 Partners, Innov8, Bharat Matrimony, upGrad, Dream11, and TrulyMadly, among others, came together to take on Google.
KrASIA looked at the series of events that lead to the unprecedented row between Google and Indian tech startups.
Trigger: In the third week of September, Google removed Paytm and its gaming app Paytm First Games from Google Play Store for allegedly violating its betting and gambling policy. A few days later, Google issued notices to food delivery companies Zomato and Swiggy for running cashback promotions on their apps related to the Indian Premier League (IPL), a cricket tournament that is in season now.
The US-based company in a blog said it doesn’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting.