Home Market News Google reinstates several delisted Indian apps on playstore within hours , after the intervention by the Centre

Google reinstates several delisted Indian apps on playstore within hours , after the intervention by the Centre

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Google removed “popular” Indian apps from its Play Store two days ago, citing violations, including payment terms. However, it reinstated the apps after the companies complied with its policies.

With Android dominating over 90% of the market share in India, having an app on the Play Store holds promise for developers and the company’s subscriber base.

On Friday, the co-founder of Kuku FM shared on LinkedIn about Google removing the company’s app from the Play Store. Kuku FM, a six-year-old audio platform hosting books and podcasts in seven languages, has amassed 10 million downloads on the Play Store.

Anupam Mittal, founder of People Group, whose website Shaadi.com was also removed by Google, stated, “The government needs to intervene now and direct the CCI (Competition Commission of India) to ensure Google is in compliance with their order and immediately restore all apps that were delisted.”

Amid protests by several Indian startups and companies, the government stepped in, with IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stating that he spoke to Google about the delisting of apps. He is expected to meet with Google representatives and affected app developers today to discuss the issue.

“I will inform Google… Our entrepreneurial spirit… startups. Look at the entire Startup India program. Ten years ago, we had almost nothing, and now we have over 100,000 startups, with more than 100 unicorns. This is significant. The potential of our talented individuals must be fully utilized; it cannot be solely dependent on the policies of major tech companies,” Vaishnaw stated, as reported by The Times of India.

What is the disagreement about?

Google heightened the situation by delisting several popular Indian apps that opposed its policy of increasing fees from 11% to 26% on in-app purchases. This action followed a directive from the CCI instructing Google to abandon its previous fee structures, which required developers to pay between 15% and 30%. Google removed the apps after both the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court declined to intervene in favor of the app developers challenging Google’s payment terms.

In its blog post on Friday, Google stated that “…for a prolonged duration, 10 companies, including numerous reputable ones, have opted not to compensate for the substantial benefits they gain from Google Play by seeking temporary safeguards from the court. These developers adhere to payment guidelines of other app platforms.”

How does the Play Store function?

Android, Google’s operating system, powers smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola, Oppo, and others. Some phones come with pre-installed Google apps and the Play Store. However, to install new apps, users need to visit the Play Store and download them.

For digital services, apps on Google have three payment options: Google’s billing system, alternative payment with commission charges by the company, and consumption mode where developers redirect users to an external website for payments.

What other options are available?

PhonePe recently introduced the Indus Appstore to compete with Google’s Play Store, positioning themselves as a “game-changer in India’s digital journey”. According to PhonePe’s official press statement, the Indus Appstore will offer more than 200,000 mobile applications and games in 12 Indian languages.

Additionally, developers will not be charged any app listing fees for one year until April 1, 2025.

The Indus Appstore enables Indian consumers to access over 2 lakh mobile apps and games across 45 categories. These apps can be conveniently discovered in 12 Indian languages, covering 95% of language preferences among Indians.

India’s own app store, Mobile Seva or mSeva AppStore, launched in 2013, hosts 1,197 active apps with over 9 crore downloads.

What comes after this?

It remains to be seen if the CCI will intervene in the tech conflict. The Supreme Court will address the issue on March 19.

Previously, the CCI instructed Google to make corrections and imposed a penalty in October 2022. It also mandated Google to permit third-party app stores on Google Play. However, the National Company Law Appellate (NCLAT) overturned the order in March 2023.

Google is under regulatory scrutiny by the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia governments regarding its business practices on Google Play.

You might also be interested in – Google removes well-known Indian apps like Naukri and Shaadi from playstore amid dispute over payments system

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