Paytm, other Indian startups vow to fight ‘big daddy’ Google’s clout: sources

In this news, we discuss the Paytm, other Indian startups vow to fight ‘big daddy’ Google’s clout: sources.

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Dozens of Indian tech startups, angered at Google’s local dominance over key apps, band together to consider ways to challenge the US tech giant, including filing complaints with the government and courts, executives told Reuters.

Although Google, owned by Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O, has worked closely with India’s booming startup sector and is ramping up its investments, it has recently angered many tech companies with what they say. qualify as unfair practices.

Setting the stage for a potential confrontation, the entrepreneurs held two video conferences this week to work out a strategy, three executives told Reuters.

“It will definitely be a tough fight,” said Dinesh Agarwal, CEO of e-commerce company IndiaMART INMR.NS. “Google will lose this battle. It’s just a matter of time.”

He said executives discussed the creation of a new startup association aimed primarily at protesting the Indian government and courts against the Silicon Valley company.

Almost 99% of the smartphones of the half billion users in India run on Google’s Android mobile operating system. Some Indian startups say this allows Google to exert undue control over the types of apps and other services they may offer, a claim the company denies.

The outcry began last month when Google removed the popular payment app Paytm from its Play Store, citing rule violations. This led to a sharp reprimand from the founder of the Indian company, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, whose app returned to the Google platform a few hours later after Paytm made some changes.

In a video call Tuesday, Sharma called Google the “big daddy” that controls “the delivery of oxygen supply (apps)” on Android phones, according to a participant. He urged the fifty or so executives at the call to join hands to “stop this tsunami”.

“If we don’t do anything together, history won’t be kind to us. We need to control our digital destiny, ”said Sharma.

One idea raised was to launch a local rival on Google’s App Store, but Sharma said it wouldn’t be immediately effective given Google’s dominance, a source said.

Sharma and Paytm, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T of Japan, did not respond to requests for comment.

Google declined to comment. He has previously said that his policies are aimed at protecting Android users and that he applies them and applies them consistently to developers.

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This week, the American company angered some Indian startups by deciding to apply a commission of 30% that it charges on payments made in the applications of the Android store.

Two dozen executives were on appeal Friday, where many criticized the move. They discussed filing antitrust complaints and contacting the Indian head of Google for discussions, said two sources with direct knowledge of the appeal.

Among the attendees were sports technology company Dream Sports, backed by U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global, social media company ShareChat and digital payments company PhonePe, the sources said. None of these companies responded to requests for comment.

Google defends the policy, claiming that 97% of apps worldwide follow it.

Google is already facing an antitrust case related to its payment app in India and a competition investigation for abusing Android’s dominant position. The company says it obeys all laws.

These mouths undermine Google’s close ties with Indian startups. He has invested in some and helped hundreds of people develop products. In July, its Indian-born CEO Sundar Pichai committed $ 10 billion in new investments over five to seven years.

The conflict “is counterproductive to what Google has done – it’s a strange place for them,” said a senior tech executive familiar with the thinking of Google. “It’s a reputation issue. It is in Google’s best interest to fix this problem. “

Google dominates all aspects of the industry.

Paytm told several startup founders on Saturday, in a communication seen by Reuters, that it was gathering information on the challenges of the Google Play Store and its policies to submit to authorities.

To craft their attack, they use a shared Google document.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Euan Rocha and William Mallard

Original © Thomson Reuters

Originally posted 2020-10-04 07:06:11.

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