Minister Opposes Google's App Removal from India's Play Store

Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Condemns Google's Actions Amidst Dispute Over App Removals in India

Mar 2, 2024 - 08:20
Mar 2, 2024 - 08:21
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Minister Opposes Google's App Removal from India's Play Store
Minister Opposes Google's App Removal from India's Play Store

Concerns have been raised by Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw over Google's decision to remove several apps from its Play Store in India. This move by the tech giant has stirred controversy, particularly amidst an ongoing dispute regarding service fee payments to the U.S. company.

The apps removed from the Play Store include prominent platforms such as Bharat Matrimony by Matrimony.com and the job search app Naukri. Google cited non-compliance with its in-app payment guidelines as the primary reason behind their removal.

Minister Vaishnaw has voiced strong disapproval of this action, stating that such de-listings cannot be permitted. He revealed that discussions have been held with Google on this matter and expressed intentions to meet with affected startups in India to ensure their protection.

Google, when approached for comment, opted not to provide any statement on the matter.

The removal of these apps has sparked criticism from various startups, many of whom have long been vocal about their grievances against Google's practices, particularly its in-app fee structure. Google, however, maintains that these fees play a crucial role in fostering the development and promotion of the Android and Play Store ecosystem.

The core of the dispute revolves around the resistance by certain Indian startups against Google's imposition of fees ranging from 11% to 26% on in-app payments. This resistance follows directives from the country's antitrust authorities to refrain from mandating the earlier fee structure of 15% to 30%.

Following court rulings in January and February, including one by the Supreme Court, Google has gained the authority to enforce the fee or remove apps from its platform.

In response to the situation, Google has remarked that some Indian companies opted not to pay for the "immense value they receive on Google Play."

Among the businesses significantly affected by the app removals is Matrimony.com, which saw over 150 of its apps delisted from the Play Store. Founder Murugavel Janakiraman expressed concerns about the potential long-term impact on revenue if the situation persists.

Another affected entity, Info Edge, witnessed its apps, including Naukri and a real estate search app, being removed. Although many of the company's apps have since been reinstated, the founder refrained from providing further details.

It's noteworthy that Google had previously removed the popular Indian payments app Paytm from its Play Store in 2020 due to policy violations. This incident prompted widespread backlash from the company's founder and the broader startup community, leading to the launch of alternative app stores and legal challenges against Google's practices.

Also Read: Google Halts Gemini Chatbot's Image Generation Feature Amid Accuracy Concerns

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