Companies with apps in Google Play Store are concerned about the tech giant’s introduction of a 30% gatekeeping fee for in-app payment systems. Digital content apps in ed-tech, dating, fitness, healthcare, video and music sectors are trying to find out the details of Google Play billing.
For years, Google and Apple have been charging a 30% commission on apps that sell digital goods. Apple would correctly collect the commission while Google was not so strict. Google tightened the law as streaming apps such as Netflix and Spotify began to surpass the company. Sameer Samat, vice president of Google Product Management says that the new change will only affect about 3% of apps that do not use Google’s billing system.
Although Google and Apple control the mobile operating system in the country, the fact that makes Google’s move significant is that 98% of smartphones in India is powered by Android. App owners say that the 30% commission fee is too high and unfair.
They are concerned that the Google Play Store is slowly killing other services and products. Many products spend lakhs on in advertising and promotion for customer engagement. Google sells almost every product vertical today. When a company sells its product on the Play Store, an ad of a similar product sold by Google would be displayed there. In a nutshell, the Play Store will eventually become a platform for selling products and services exclusively to Google. By creating a monopoly in digital sales in the country, Google can easily replace all major services and products, without us knowing. Listen to Paytm: There is no option to advertise Paytm to someone who uses Google Pay. At the same time, an ad to download Google Pay would appear on the screen of every PhonePe or Paytm user, during every transaction.
That’s where Indian startups demand India needs its own local app store to complete Atmanirbhar Bharat project. The Centre had made a statement on the need to bring Atma Nirbhar Bharat app ecosystem. There is an app store for governance-centric apps in India. Developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, this app store includes apps like e-governance app Umang, health app Aarogya Setu and storage app DigiLocker. Do we need an app store that beats Google and Apple? What do you think?