Taking on Google’s monopoly: Centre to ‘enable’ multiple app stores

Venkatesh Ganesh Mumbai | Updated on October 06, 2020

For fair play   -  /iStockphoto

‘Rules of the game have to be fair; CCI can come in if there are anti-trust issues’

The government will facilitate the creation of multiple app stores in the country to give competition to Google’s Play Store, according to a top government official.

“Ultimately, monopoly of one market player is not good. Whether it is Google or anybody else, it has to be fair to all stakeholders. The job of government is to ensure that undue advantage is not taken by any company,” Abhishek Singh, CEO, MyGov India, told BusinessLine.

When asked if the government will directly build such an app store, Singh said, “The government could set up a play store but the real solution will lie in enabling multiple such platforms to ensure competition in the marketplace. The government can oversee the interests of app developers.” Singh is also the President and CEO National e-Governance Division, and MD and CEO of Digital India Corporation under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.

Also read: Taking on Google’s monopoly: Centre to ‘enable’ multiple app stores

Flak for Google

Singh’s comments assume significance in the wake of a spate of changes announced by Google recently which have not gone down well with Indian app companies. Google has been drawing flak for evicting Paytm from the Play Store for a brief while earlier in September for allegedly violating its rules.

These decisions by Google have forced Indian start-up founders, including Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip, Vishal Gondal of Goqii, to discuss the possibility of creating a new platform to rival Google’s Play Store.

Backing the Indian players, Singh said, “The rules of the game should be fair and competition commission can come in case of antitrust issues.”

Fee for every transaction

A few days ago, Google announced that from October, it will take a 30 per cent fee from every transaction being done within an app on its Play Store.

Singh compared the move by Google to a shopping mall that forces stores inside the mall to use a specific billing payment system developed by the mall owner.

“It is not fair to force all of them to use the specific billing platform as different shops (inside the mall) will do varying levels of business. Taking 30 per cent away from the smallest of them on every transaction across the board is also not fair,” said Singh. Regulatory issues are being examined and if violations have been committed then necessary law of the land will come into effect, Singh added.

Ultimately, every stakeholder requirement needs to be balanced and the interests of small companies should also be factored in, given the kind of stress they are facing now, he added.

Published on October 02, 2020

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