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Business News/ Technology / News/  Google's move will cause ‘irreparable harm to the market’: Indian startups' plea to CCI on app delisting row
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Google's move will cause ‘irreparable harm to the market’: Indian startups' plea to CCI on app delisting row

Indian startups urge antitrust watchdog to make Google reinstate apps delisted for policy reasons, claiming the move is anti-competitive and will harm the market. Google delisted around 200 Indian apps for policy reasons while reinstating only 15.

These shell companies were reportedly using a front, We Purchase Apps, to buy legitimate apps, available on Google Play Store, from their developers to gain control over 125 apps with combined download of 115 million. Photo: ReutersPremium
These shell companies were reportedly using a front, We Purchase Apps, to buy legitimate apps, available on Google Play Store, from their developers to gain control over 125 apps with combined download of 115 million. Photo: Reuters

Indian startups have now approached the country's top antitrust regulator to force Google to reinstate the apps it removed on Friday for policy reasons. Google had removed around 200 Indian apps, including Naukri, 99acres, Bharat Matrimony and Kuku FM, and the tech giant later reinstated only around 15 of them.

Also Read | Google vs Indian startups row: its global implications

According to a Reuters report, citing the letter written by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), Indian startups claim that Google's "brazen" move to delist these apps from the Google Play store was anti-competitive and that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) should ask the Mountain View, California-based company to reverse its decision. The report said that ADIF, in its letter to the CCI dated March 1, had alleged that Google's move would cause "irreparable damage to the entire market".

Meanwhile, Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Rajeev Chandrasekhar met separately with Google and Indian startups to find a solution to the current crisis. Vaishnaw, the Union Minister for IT and Communications, has held several meetings on the issue but declined to give any new details, saying "I will share when it is finalised".

Meanwhile, Minister of State for IT and Electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar held a meeting with ADIF where the start-ups raised their issues on the matter and sought support from the government, reported PTI.

Why did Google delist Indian apps? 

Indian startups and Google have been at loggerheads over the company's decision to impose a fee of 11-26 percent on in-app payments. Notably, in an earlier order, the CCI had stopped Google from enforcing a system of charging 15-30 per cent for in-app fees.

The Indian startups claim that Google is abusing its dominant position in the market to charge a fee of 11-26 per cent for in-app payments, when most payment gateways charge only around 0.5-2 per cent. They also claim that their apps are forced to use Google's API while implementing any Google model, which gives the tech giant access to their customer data, in clear violation of the CCI order.

Google, for its part, has maintained that an in-app fee helps it develop and promote the Android and Play Store ecosystem. The company also added that treating a small group of developers differently creates an uneven playing field for the vast majority of developers who pay their fair share.

 

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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 08:08 AM IST
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