Info-tech

Google defers in-app fee in India as Paytm launches Mini App Store

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 05, 2020 Published on October 05, 2020

Facing backlash from start-ups, Internet giant puts off levy till April 2022

The battle between Google and Indian start-up founders, led by Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, has intensified with the former deferring a decision to charge 30 per cent commission on transactions being done on its Play Store. This came soon after Paytm launched a mini store of its own with over 300 Indian apps on the platform.

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In a blogpost on Monday, Google said it was pushing back the policy to collect a transaction fee from September 2021 to April 2022 “being mindful of local needs and concerns.” The Internet giant has been facing severe backlash over the transaction fee and was accused by the start-up ecosystem of misusing its monopoly.

Cashing in on the opportunity, Paytm announced the launch of its Android Mini App Store to support developers. It is listing and distributing these mini-apps within its app without any fee. Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma continued his attack on Google. “When you (Google) take what we earn, you don’t grow together. You grow at our cost. Young company seek tax rebates and holidays from governments. And Google takes all this money spent by Indians on other Indian’s apps to offshores. Depriving us of our capital investments, jobs & growth,” Sharma tweeted.

‘Not a classical app store’

However, experts are of the view that the Paytm initiative pushes the boundary on the definition of an app store. Typically, an app store is a platform that a software developer can use to distribute apps and the user can download on the device. In this case, the user has to go through Paytm to download other apps. “The Paytm App Store is not a classical app store, as it is a collection of mobile websites that give users an app-like experience without the need to download it,” said Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and former Asia Marketing Head of HP Inc.

Paytm Mini App Store links the user to light web apps created using HTML or Javascript. The apps run within Paytm’s in-app browser. “These Indian apps will not be full-fledged apps per se; rather, they will function like websites while providing all functionalities of the native apps,” said Sonam Chandwani, Managing Partner at KS Legal & Associates.

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Other industry observers said Paytm is not doing anything new. For instance, PhonePe has an in-app option called Switch through which a user can download apps such as Ola, redBus, Goibibo, Myntra, and Grofers.

 

 

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Published on October 05, 2020
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