Money & Banking

Paytm’s Sharma in Twitter war over WhatsApp’s new payment feature

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on February 15, 2018

Vijay Shekhar Sharma Paytm Founder

But MobiKwik, PayU, Freecharge executives slam him for double standards

All-out war broke out on Twitter after Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma accused popular messaging platform WhatsApp of “killing” the open UPI (Unified Payments Interface) system by launching a payment feature.

“After failing to win war against India’s open Internet with cheap tricks of free basics, Facebook is again in play. Killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation. I am surprised, champions of open @India_Stack, let it happen!” Sharma tweeted.

“Microsoft did this to open web standards. WhatsApp is doing this to UPI, openly in front of everyone,” he added.

Scared of competition?

Sharma seems to have been unnerved by WhatsApp’s move to launch a payment feature for millions of users on its messaging platform. Though the initial service allows peer-to-peer transfer of money, the Facebook-owned company is in talks with brands to enable payments, which will make it a direct competitor to Sharma’s Paytm.

While WhatsApp did not respond to Sharma’s comment, other players such as MobiKwik and PayU slammed the Paytm founder.

Bipin Preet Singh, CEO and founder of Mobikwik tweeted, “All incumbents complaining about WhatsApp getting unfair advantage in its UPI implementation to further its business interests — Those who live in glass houses ... there is clear record of private companies who got access first and exclusively when UPI was launched.”

Anti-national tag coming?

“Those complaining about Whatsapp are the same folks who refuse to entertain neutral payment options (like@Mobikwik)on their own ecommerce websites/apps and instead promote only captive wallets. A standard of interoperability should include wallet acceptance as well,” Singh added.

Kunal Shah, co-founder of Freecharge, also backed the American company with this post on Twitter: “All companies threatened by WhatsApp payments are going to tag it as anti-national and try to pull it down as it is hard to win on merit against network effects of WhatsApp.”

The verbal slugfest soon drew in consumers. “It’ll not be a war. It’ll be a massacre, and will end without a fight. Indian startups can’t offer even 0.001% of what tech giants offer. Chinese will now go for the blood of the founders to recover their money. The party is over...” said @sohilgupta, a former Paytm executive.

According to @narayananembar: “WhatsApp has now eliminated need to use stupid wallets! Bank to bank right? What’s the issue here for @Paytm?”

Amrish Rau, Founder of PayU said: “Let’s get this clear, Whatsapp and UPI being targeted. Just reminds that even $ Billions are scared of great UX.”

Replying to Kunal Shah’s tweet Rau said: “It is great to see Chinese companies are standing up against anti India WhatsApp (sic)” adding that “If you can’t beat them, then bitch them”.

Published on February 14, 2018

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