Could India be planning to launch its own app store?

Modi PM of India

India is open to launching its own mobile app shop or enlarging an existing one if it receives sufficient demand from domestic firms for an alternative to Apple and Google platforms, a senior government official has suggested.

The country has some 500 million smartphone users, many of whom utilise Google’s Android platform, but Indian start-ups have criticised the company for policies that they state stifle their development.

SoftBank-backed Paytm, one of India’s leading payments companies, protested against the US tech giant’s decision to eliminate its app for a few hours each month citing violations of gambling policies.

Google also said this week that it will strictly enforce a policy which will levy a 30% commission on payments made inside apps on its Android store.

In response to an earlier media report, a senior Indian official told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters that New Delhi hasn’t received any formal petition but was ready to consider developing a mobile platform where apps could be downloaded.

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“Before we open one we need to know there will be takers for it,” said the government official, declining to be named because he is not authorised to speak with media.

India already runs a mobile app store that lists over 1,200 mainly government-backed applications, but also Paytm, and also the government could also consider expanding that rather than beginning from scratch, the official added.

India’s technology ministry, both Google and Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Google has said that fewer than 3 percent of programmers with apps on its own Play shop sold digital products over the previous 12 weeks, and nearly 97% comply with its payment system policy.

Nonetheless, several Indian start-up founders are calling for a local app store that doesn’t charge a top service fee.

“It’s absolutely necessary to have a local app store,” said Vishal Gondal, co-founder of all Bengaluru-based gaming vendor nCore Games.

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Paytm disagreed with Google’s assessment but eliminated certain promotions to get its app reinstated. The company’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has stated in interviews that Google was acting as “judge, jury and executioner”.

Without referring to Paytm by title, Google afterward said its policies have been geared toward protecting consumers from possible injury and so were applied and enforced all programmers consistently.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi. Editing by Aditya Kalra, Kirsten Donovan.

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