Indian tech startup heads have joined hands to push for a homegrown digital app ecosystem and approach the Centre for support against Apple and Google’s duopoly over the app market.
The group held an “informal meeting” on September 29 to discuss ways to establish a platform to host local apps to beat App Store (Apple) and Play Store (Google) and create a national-level lobby for representation with the government, sources told The Economic Times.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
Among the founding parties include Murugavel Janakiraman (Matrimony.com), Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm) and Yashish Dahiya (Policybazaar), it added.
The group plans to approach the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Finance Ministry to seek redressal against the latest commission increase on purchases made via Google Play Store.
It will also seek to push the topic with the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the National Payments Corporation of India and the Competition Commission of India, it added.
Janakiraman suggested the creation of a government monitored body to ensure ‘app neutrality’ along the lines of net neutrality, adding that 80 percent of internet access in India is through digital applications which “can't be completely controlled by Google since they own the Play Store."
CCAvenue Founder and Chairman of the Payments Council of India Vishwas Patel also pushed for government intervention, highlighting the need in case of “restrictions imposed due to geopolitical tensions.”
The Centre has not received any request yet, but would take up the matter if approached, an official told the paper.
Google did not respond to queries on the matter, the report added.
Google had on September 29 said that apps that choose to sell digital content through its Play Store will have to use the Google Play billing system and pay a percentage of the in-app purchase as a fee. But startups raised concerns about Google forcing Indian app developers and owners to sell digital services by compulsorily using its billing system, and giving the US-based company a 30 percent fee on each transaction.