Indian startup founders mull levying Play Store fees or tax to counter Google#39;s action

1 month ago

Social media of various Indian startup founders is buzzing with suggestions to counter the tech giant's move of delisting some apps from the Play Store

March 01, 2024 / 08:44 PM IST

Startup founders weigh in suggestions on Google's action of taking down Indian apps.

Startup founders weigh in suggestions on Google's action of taking down Indian apps.

Indian startup founders have suggested levying a 'Google Fee' or a 'Google Tax' to its consumers in a move to counter the tech giant's drastic action of delisting as many as 10 Indian apps listed on the Play Store.

"We need to involve and move the public opinion. What if all Indian startups boldly highlight and charge extra money as Google Fees or Google Tax? That way public opinion will build up and the government will also be forced to notice," a  founder said in a WhatsApp group that houses around 400 prominent startup founders

Google on March 1 said that it is taking action against apps of 10 Indian companies that have chosen not to comply with the company's app billing policy for an "extended period of time".

The development is the latest escalation in the ongoing standoff between the tech giant and local internet companies in the world's second-largest internet market.

Apps of matrimony firms Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, job search portal Naukri and real-estate app 99acres as well as the streaming platforms Altt, Stage, and Aha, dating apps Truly Madly, and Quack Quack and social networking app FRND, appear to have been taken down from the Google Play Store.

On Google's action, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a premier industry body that counts top internet companies as its members, said that it has "advised" the tech giant not to delist any apps from its app marketplace Google Play.

"The affected members of IAMAI are of the view that a substantive hearing of the case is pending before the Supreme Court of India, and Google should not take any coercive action during the pendency of the case" IAMAI said in a statement.

Google on the other hand has said that after giving these developers more than three years to prepare, including three weeks after the Supreme Court’s order, they are taking necessary steps to ensure their policies are applied consistently across the ecosystem.

The company noted that it has always worked with developers to help them find "feasible" solutions but allowing a "small group of developers" to get differential treatment with the app billing policy would create an "uneven playing field" across the ecosystem and put all other apps and games at a "competitive disadvantage."

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