Paytm launches its own Paytm mini app store after Google Clash
While the removal of the app may be a trigger, Paytm’s move is perhaps a direct fallout of Google’s mandatory policy that app listed on its Play Store to use its billing service. Google levies a 30% commission on any transaction made for a digital product or service through its in-app billing system.
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Paytm Mini App Store: Highlights
Paytm said it will also provide developers with free payment avenues including Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank, and UPI. However, it should be noted that a 2% extra charge is levied for payments using credit cards. For developers, Paytm has also provided a dashboard for analytics, payments collection, and various marketing tools to better engage with users.
The Company said that Paytm Mini App Store is in its beta testing phase with selected users in the country for some time and has seen over 12 million visits in the month of September. Paytm said that over 300 app-based service providers have already joined the programme, including the likes of Decathlon, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, Netmeds, NoBroker, Ola, and more. These apps are expected to make their way to the Paytm Mini App Store soon.
Google’s Mono-Poly in India
Late last month, Google announced that it would enforce its 30% fee for apps that are on Google Play but are not using its billing system. This led Indian app developers and entrepreneurs to demand for a national app store alternative to Google Play.
In a recent development, Google has pushed back enforcing the 30% in-app commission for developers in India until March 31, 2022. The tech giant says that the delay has been brought in place so that Indian developers “have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription option that will be made available on Google Play — for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system.”
Paytm was also among one the key Indian apps that was pulled from Google Play recently. Google later clarified that Paytm was removed from the platform for violating its content rules, and not for offering cashbacks and vouchers, as Paytm claimed.
IAMAI & Possibility of Indian App store
Last week, startup founders such as Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Razorpay’s Harshil Mathur, along with 50 other founders, discussed the possibility of building an Indian app store to challenge Google.
In a separate move, industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which has many startups as members, sought a collective strategy to tackle the issue. In a note on 29 September, IAMAI said it is seeking a meeting with its founder members to understand their concerns and to resolve them.
“Just because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem of this country, they should not act arbitrarily and enforce their rules and regulations that are contrary to our country’s laws,” said Vishwas Patel, founder of CCAvenue and chairman of Payments Council of India and a member of IAMAI. “Google’s stand in courts is that it does not need RBI authorization as it is not a payment system operator and, here, it is mandating that Indian apps use only Google’s proprietary billing and payment systems. Google should not exercise its dominant position, rather allow a level-playing field for everyone,” he added.
“India needs a local app store long-term, else 30% tax will eat up most businesses; is anyone trying to build one?” Mathur of Razorpay said on Twitter last week.
Payments Council of India founder Patel said in the 29 September note that Google’ can’t “force” Indian developers to use Google billing and charge a commission for it.
Mobile Seva App Store: An alternative
The Indian developers plan to lobby the government and come up with an alternative to Google. In fact, business channel ETNow reported last week that the government is planning to ramp up its Mobile Seva app store, which has mostly catered to MSMEs, to act as an alternative to Google and Apple’s platforms.
The government is reportedly planning to make the Mobile Seva app store mandatory on all smartphones. Paytm recently listed on the store, which mostly has government apps.
In the absence of any legal means, the government will have its work cut out for making a viable alternative to Google and Apple, experts said.
“Other app stores have not been able to catch up with Google Play because they lack network effects. Google’s Play Store is mandatory to make use of Google Mobile Services, that includes other apps such as Google Maps,” Manjunath Bhat, senior director analyst at Gartner, told Mint last week.
Google’s services and features are no doubt are the best, but when it comes to American companies they wanted to continue their mono-poly and enforce their own idea in every segment. Paytm mini app store is a brave effort by Paytm to end Google’s mono-poly in India.
It’s a good thing that govt. is also personally looking at making Indian’s own app store (mobile seva app) and enforce it in every smartphone