Due to the popularity of Android, Google enjoys an unchallenged monopoly which allows the technology giant make the application developers dance to its tune. The brief removal of Paytm from Google Play Store further highlighted the perils of an absolute monopoly enjoyed by Google. However, this is not the first instance where Google has flexed its muscles and acted as a hinderance to the growth of Indian startups. Realising the need to forge an alliance to challenge the technology giant’s clout, Indian startups are coming together to pose a joint challenge to Google and ensure the latter doesn’t flex its muscles, unwarranted.
Indian technology startups are banding together to explore ways of challenging Google’s dominance which includes lodging complaints with the government and courts, reports Reuters.
After being angered by what the startups term as “unfair practices”, top executives from leading technology startups have held two video conferences last week to strategise for the way ahead for a potential showdown with Google.
“It’s definitely going to be a bitter fight. Google will lose this battle. It’s just a matter of time,” said Dinesh Agarwal, CEO of e-commerce firm IndiaMART.
Top executives have also deliberated upon forming a new startup association aimed mainly at lodging protests with the Indian government and courts against the American tech giant.
To put things into perspective, approximately 99% of the smartphones of India’s half a billion users run on Google’s Android mobile operating system.
Indian startups claim that this has allowed the company to exert excessive control over the types of apps and other services on its mobile operating service.
While Google denies such allegations, the Indian startup sector was rocked by the news of Google removing Paytm from its Play Store which caused a huge uproar amongst the community. While, Google restored Paytm on its Play Store after few hours with Paytm making certain changes, the damage had been done.
Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma launched a sharp rebuke as he termed Google as the “big daddy” that controls the “oxygen supply of (app) distribution” on Android phones during the video conference. Reuters quoting an attendee claimed that Sharma urged the roughly 50 executives on the call to join hands to “stop this tsunami.”
“If we together don’t do anything, then history will not be kind to us. We have to control our digital destiny,” said Sharma.
Moreover, in a bid to support Indian app developers after its own app was removed by Google from its Play Store, Paytm on Monday launched an Android Mini App Store to support local developers take their innovative products to the masses.
Paytm said it will provide listing and distribution of these mini-apps within its app without any charges. 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 Decathlon, Ola, Park+, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, NoBroker have already joined the programme.
“Paytm Mini App Store empowers our young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to build new innovative services. For Paytm users, it will be a seamless experience that doesn’t require any separate download and enables them to use their preferred payment option,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
Google further earned the ire of the Indian startup community after its last week’s decision to enforce a 30% commission it charges on payments made within apps on the Android store. The executives present on call had discussed filing antitrust complaints and approaching Google’s India head for its decision with Google defending its policy claiming that 97% of apps worldwide comply with the same.
It is pertinent to note that some of India’s biggest startups, Dream Sports, PhonePe, ShareChat and Paytm were a part of the video conference and are now planning on crafting a joint attack to end Google’s dominance.