Paytm and other Indian start-ups vow to fight ‘big daddy’ Google

Paytm

Dozens of India’s leading tech start-ups, chafing at Google’s local dominance of key apps, are banding together to consider strategies to challenge the US tech giant, such as by lodging complaints with the government and courts, executives have said.

Although Google, possessed by Alphabet Inc, has worked closely with India’s booming start-up sector and is ramping up its investments, it has recently angered many tech companies using what they say are unfair practices.

Setting the stage for a potential showdown, entrepreneurs held just two video conferences this week to strategize, three executives told journalists.

“It’s definitely going to be a bitter fight,” said Dinesh Agarwal, Chief Executive of e-commerce company IndiaMART. It’s just a matter of time.”

He explained executives have discussed forming a new start-up association aimed chiefly at accommodation protests with the Indian authorities and courts against the Silicon Valley business.

Nearly 99% of those smartphones of India’s half a billion users run on Google’s Android operating system. Some Indian start-ups state that enables Google to exert excessive control over the types of apps and other solutions they could provide, an allegation the company stinks.

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The uproar began last month when Google eliminated popular payments app Paytm from its Play Store, citing policy violations. This caused a sharp rebuke from the Indian firm’s founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, whose app returned into the Google stage a couple of hours afterwards, after Paytm made certain alterations.

At a video call on Tuesday, Sharma called Google that the “big daddy” that controls the “oxygen supply of (app) distribution” on Android telephones, according to an attendee. He urged that the approximately 50 execs around the telephone to join hands to “stop this tsunami.”

“If we together don’t do anything, then history will not be kind to us. We have to control our digital destiny,” Sharma said.

1 idea raised was to establish a local rival to Google’s app store, but Sharma explained this would not be instantly successful given Google’s dominance,” one source said.

Sharma and Paytm, that is endorsed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

It has said its policies aim to safeguard Android users also that it applies and enforces them consistently on programmers.

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This week the US business angered some Indian start-ups by deciding to enforce a 30% commission it costs on obligations made inside apps on the Android store.

Two dozen executives were on a telephone on Friday where several slammed this decision. They discussed submitting antitrust complaints and approaching Google’s India thoughts for discussions, said two sources with direct knowledge of the telephone.

Participants comprised sports technology firm Dream Sports, backed by US hedge fund Tiger Global, social networking business ShareChat and electronic payments company PhonePe, the sources stated. Not one of those companies responded to requests for comment.

Google defends the coverage, stating 97% of apps worldwide comply with it.

Google already faces an antitrust case linked to its obligations app in India and a contest investigation into claims it mistreated Android’s dominant position. The company says it complies with all laws.

All these spats breed Google’s strong ties to Indian start-ups. It’s invested in a few and assisted hundreds with product development. In July, its Indian-born Chief Executive Sundar Pichai committed a massive $10 billion in new investments over five to seven years.

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The conflict “is counterproductive to what Google has been doing – it’s an odd place for them to be,” said a senior tech executive familiar with Google’s thinking.

“It’s a reputation issue. It’s in the interest of Google to resolve this issue.”

Google looms over every part of the business.

Paytm on Saturday told many start-up founders, at a communication seen by journalists at our partner news agency Reuters, it was collating input challenges to Google Play Store and its own policies to submit to the government.

To craft their attack, they’re using a shared Google document.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi. Editing by Euan Rocha and William Mallard.

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