Updated March 4th, 2024 at 22:01 IST

Union Ministers meet Google, app developers over Play Store delisting

The affected startups raised their concerns and sought support from the government over delisting from Google Play Store.

Reported by: Business Desk
Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Rajeev Chandrasekhar | Image:ANI

Rounds of meetings: Union Ministers from the Electronics and Information Technology on March 4 held several rounds of meetings with Google and delisted startups from its Play Store.

There has been no solution as Indian companies allege Google of exploiting its dominant position in the Android ecosystem.


The startups met Union IT and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and the Minister of State for IT and Electronics Rajeev Chandrashekhar to raise concerns around the issue, seeking support from the government.

Google representatives held a meeting with Union Minister Vaishnaw earlier in the day to present their version, explaining the reason for their action as per sources.


Google has imposed an 11 to 26 per cent fee on in-app payments after anti-competition body CCI ordered the scrapping of an earlier system which charged developers anywhere from 15 to 30 per cent.

Google on March 1 removed the apps that were not paying up, after the Supreme Court did not provide interim relief to these companies disputing the search giant's app marketplace fee.


While IT Minister Vaishnaw did not share details of the meeting, MoS IT Chandrasekhar held a virtual meeting with the Alliance of Digital India Foundation, a body representing Indian app developers.

"Today, startups presented their concerns regarding a few policies of Google. Assured them that MeitY will take it up with Google for a sustainable and long-term solution," Chandrasekhar posted on X.


There has been a deep and decisive transformation in India’s startup ecosystem over the past 10 years, the Minister said.

“From fewer startups in 2014, the country has more than 1 lakh startups and 113 unicorns with the potential to add 10 lakh startups and 10,000 unicorns in the coming decade," his post further read.


ADIF said that its members met both ministers to voice out their concerns and seek support from the government.

"The government has assured us support for both immediate resolution and long-term framework. They extended support for our concerns, which were mainly about discriminative pricing, arbitrary revenue share, and Google misusing its dominant position in the market," the industry body said.


As per Stage OTT app CEO Vinay Singhal, Google is misusing its dominant position in the market and price gouging to extract unnecessary exorbitant revenue from small start-ups.

“Most payment gateways charge 0.5-2 per cent charges, whereas Google charges 15-30 per cent for the same. Google is using its dominant position to price itself at a 30 per cent revenue share, without giving any justifications," he said.


"The service of Google Play Store remains exactly the same for big names like Amazon, Uber and relatively smaller players like Kuku FM, Stage, Kutumb, and Truly Madly, but there is discrimination in charging where they are charging 15-30 per cent from small apps, while they are charging nothing from the big names,” said Snehil Khanor, Co-founder and CEO of Truly Madly, a matchmaking app.

The founders said that they are obligated to use Google’s API while implementing any Google model, which gives them access to all of the company’s customer data, which is a clear violation of CCI’s order. “In the name of real-time billing, they want access to all our data. Moreover, Google has also asked for audit rights, which is an infringement of the DPDP act,” they said.


More than 200 apps have been delisted by the app store Play, out of which less than 15 apps have been reinstated.

"The apps that have been reinstated are those who have complied with Google's policies. Most of us had to comply to get reinstated to maintain our visibility. People started considering us as fraud because they are unaware of what is actually happening".


The troubled founders said that their revenues dropped by more than 40 per cent in the last 3 days, since they were not acquiring any new customers.

They said that Google's action has put a halt on our businesses.

(With PTI Inputs)


Published March 4th, 2024 at 22:01 IST