Google Play’s updated payment policy creates barrier to innovation: Indus OS’ Anand Singh

Yatti Soni Bengaluru | Updated on August 30, 2021

Indus App Bazaar is an android enhanced app store ecosystem for smartphones available in English and 12 Indian languages

Ever since Google Play updated its payment policy, Indus App Bazaar by Indus OS has emerged as a strong Indian alternative to the tech giant-controlled Play Store. Google has given a deadline of March 31, 2022 for app developers based in India to comply with its payment policies, which mandates all developers selling digital goods in their apps to start using Google Play’s billing system. As the deadline approaches, conversations around the need for an Indian App Store has spread among the start-up ecosystem.

BusinessLine spoke to Anand Singh, Head of Developer Relations and Localisation, Indus OS about the company’s attempt at building an indigenous app store – Indus App Bazaar. It is an Enhanced App Store Ecosystem (EASE) for android smartphones available in 12 Indian languages and also English. EASE allows app developers to create and launch apps in multiple local languages. Indus App Bazaar claims to have over 100 million users and a collection of 4,00,000 apps.

What is the company’s vision behind building EASE?

Indus OS aims to enable democratisation and ease of discovery of applications and content for all stakeholders (users and developers), keeping in mind their needs and building institutions to support and boost their innovative endeavours.

What are some distinct features in Indus App Bazaar?

We have created a fair and healthy app store environment for all developers who can join the platform, develop apps and self-publish them. Indus App Bazaar has a dedicated team of experts to help developers analyse their app performance post-launch and make modifications in in line with user feedback.

We also provide developers with relevant tools for free, including AWS credits and translation services. Likewise, we have added customised offerings for users such as rich content search and discovery, personalised recommendations, and a starter kit for first-time users, among others. More importantly, it allows users to access the platform without entering an email id.

How is tech giants’ market dominance impacting local developers in India?

Around 95 per cent of India’s smartphone users have Android-driven smartphones with Google Play Store as their preinstalled app store. Google’s updated billing system will push developers to switch from their existing payment system to Google’s new billing mechanism and pay a huge commission to the platform. Restrictions like these will only be a barrier to accessibility and innovation to both developers and users.

What is your view on the unification of operating systems and its potential impact on app developers?

This synergy between operating systems will provide developers with more accessibility to leverage and explore new tools for app creation and development. This will also enable them to innovate more and thus drive meaningful user engagements.

Further, the unification will allow more collaborations between various players, which will help build a better, fair, and healthy app store ecosystem for every creator who can bring innovation to the table.

Published on August 30, 2021

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