Info-tech

App row: Paytm slams Google for alleged policy ‘double standards’

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on October 07, 2020 Published on October 07, 2020

While Google does not allow companies to promote their apps via Play Store, it lets them do so on YouTube for a ‘hefty fee’, said Paytm

Paytm on Wednesday accused Google of having a double standard in terms of its Play Store policies and its ads business.

Paytm in a blog post announcing that its gaming app Paytm First Games has been reinstated to the Play Store criticised the tech giant's "dichotomy" in terms of its policies.

 

Google last month had removed Paytm and Paytm first games for alleged violations of the Play Store’s gambling policy. Paytm in a blog post stated that Google does not allow the company to promote its real money app through its own app. However, it will enable the companies to promote the app on its video-sharing platform YouTube for a “hefty fee.”

“To put it simply, Play Store will ban the Paytm app or the Paytm First Games app if we promote our pro app. But it will freely allow YouTube to promote our free app, for a fee,” Paytm said in the post.

“The arbitrary (and self-serving) policies of Google and their arbitrary interpretation of these policies is a dangerous, and extra-judicial, enforcement of monopolistic powers, against the interest of developers and users,” Paytm said in the post.

Taking on Google, Paytm to host Mini App Store developers’ conference this week

The current version of the app does not include fantasy games that include real-world transactions. The app has been brought back with free fantasy sports. For fantasy sports that require real money transactions, users will be required to download the pro-version from Paytm First Games’ website.

“We wish to make it clear that as per Indian laws, Fantasy sports are completely legal and allowed all over India, except in few states like Assam, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” the company clarified.

Impact of Google’s policies

Paytm has been at odds with Google ever since the tech giant removed its apps.

The issue has been escalated, and the criticism of Google has drawn support from more Indian startups after Google’s latest announcement related to its updated Payments policy. Google last month announced that it would require apps to use its own payments system with a few exceptions. It will be charging a 30 per cent transaction fee for all apps.

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

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Wednesday said that the app would also harm apps from banks and wealth advisors as per Google’s policy to charge business productivity software and financial management software as well.

“So, if Google enforces its policies, Banks and Wealth Advisors' Android Apps will be forced to use Google's Payments and pay 30% of this to Google,” Sharma tweeted with a link to Google’s update policy.

Multiple startups had criticised Google's move with many considering the option to build a homegrown app store.

Paytm has recently launched its own mini-app store with over 300 developers and publishers on board. It is organising a developers’ conference on Thursday to attract indigenous players for the store.

Google, facing severe backlash deferred levying the 30 per cent transaction fee in India till April 2022.

The tech giant further said that it would address the concerns of Indian startups related to its policy.

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Published on October 07, 2020
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