Google delists popular Indian apps from play store, founder calls decision unfair

Google has removed multiple apps from Google play store, informing them that the apps are not in compliance with the Play Store billing policy

   
Google removes Indian apps from play store

Tech giant and search engine Google has taken action by removing approximately 10 apps from its revered Play Store. Among the fallen are reputed home grown Indian apps spanning matrimonial services, real estate listings, and audio storytelling platforms. These apps include, Kuku FM, Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Naukri.com, 99 acres, Jodii,Truly Madly, Quack Quack, Stage, ALTT (Alt Balaji).

Their crime? they allegedly failed or avoided to follow Google’s stringent billing policies despite being benefitted from the platform.

‘Applying our policies fairly across the ecosystem’ says Google

Google in their recent blog post has mentioned why they did it.

Today, we have over 200,000 Indian developers using Google Play who adhere to our policies, helping us ensure we have a safe platform; however, for an extended period of time, 10 companies, including many well-established ones, have chosen to not pay for the immense value they receive on Google Play by securing interim protections from court. These developers comply with payment policies of other app stores.

Google further added 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 that policies are applied consistently across the ecosystem.

“Enforcement of our policy, when necessary, can include removal of non-compliant apps from Google Play. Developers are welcome to resubmit their apps to be listed on Play by electing any three billing options as part of our Payments Policy,” the blog read.

Kuku FM’s founder and CEO, Lal Chand Bisu also calls Google’s action unfair on X.

Google’s sudden move has had a significant toll on Info Edge, since most of its popular apps have been deleted from the Android Play Store.

The company said the action comes as a surprise to the company as it was taken without giving due and sufficient notice by Google. Info Edge clarified that users who already have its mobile apps downloaded on their mobile devices can continue to use the same. In addition, all users who are using the apps through other platforms (such as Apple App Store) or through the web platforms concerned (on both mobile and desktop), are not impacted by this change.

“The company is reviewing and evaluating the next course of action and working with Google in this regard, to ensure that the company’s mobile applications are reinstated on Google Play Store, in the best timely manner,” the BSE filing added.

However, Info Edge founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani on Friday said it had cleared all pending Google invoices in a timely manner and was compliant with its policies. “Indian companies will comply – for now. But what India needs is an App Store/ Play Store that is a part of Digital Public Infrastructure – like UPI and ONDC. The response needs to be strategic,” he said in a post on X tagging Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal.

Meanwhile, advocates argue for a sanctuary where Indian enterprises can thrive without being hassled. The tussle between global giant and entrepreneurs sparks debates on sovereignty in the digital sphere. Prafull Billore, Founder and CEO of MBA Chai wala shares a tweet saying “It’s a dark day for Indian digital startups,”.

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