Today (Oct. 5), India’s most valued tech unicorn Paytm announced it has launched its own “mini app store” where Indian startups can leverage its extensive distribution network free of cost.
Within minutes of this announcement, Google published a blog post stressing it is “deeply committed to the success of the Indian ecosystem.”
The internet search major, which owns the Android smartphone operating system, also said it is postponing the enforcement of its new Play Store billing policy in India to April 2022. The new policy allows Google to ensure it gets as high as a 30% cut on in-app purchases made through Android apps. Globally, the new policy will be implemented in September 2021.
“We are setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply. We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies,” said Purnima Kochikar, director of business development of games and applications at Google Play.
Paytm versus Google
The conflict between Paytm and Google has been simmering for several weeks now.
On Sept. 18, Paytm’s app was temporarily removed from the Google Play Store on allegations that it violated developer guidelines on real-money gaming. While the app was restored within hours, Paytm issued a statement alleging that Google was trying to suppress a formidable rival. “This will be familiar to all Indian internet companies since they face similar arm-twisting and fear of Google’s dominance over India’s digital ecosystem every day,” Paytm said in a statement on Sept. 20.
Over the last two weeks, several news reports claimed that some prominent Indian entrepreneurs, including Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, were discussing the option of backing an alternate app store to fight Google’s monopoly.
Last week, around