By Bhasker Bhandare
Recently Google declared 30 per cent commission on in app purchases of Google play store from September 2021 which is going to badly affect not only Indian users but also the entire world as Google having monopoly when it comes to android and very recently, we also came across news of Paytm being removed from Google Play store for few hours until it was restored the same day. This has shown that companies like these can misuse their powers against local app companies and can demote them by implementing new search algorithms, which will only prioritise Google apps.
To counter this India is coming up with is own app store which will be a game changing move for Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Indian digital economy. The country has some 500 million smartphone users, most of whom use Google’s Android platform, but Indian start-ups have criticised the company for policies they say stifle their growth.India already has an app store for governance-centric apps, which can be scaled up to begin with, the existing digital store for government apps, developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), hosts a slew of applications such as e-governance app Umang, health app Aarogya Setu and storage app Digi Locker. A number of technology entrepreneurs are joining hands to petition the government seeking support to create an overarching Indian digital app ecosystem. The demand has been spurred by Google’s announcement that it would enforce a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases.Even though Google said it will allow developers to sell their services through other app stores, or websites, the industry doesn’t see this as an option either. Unless the government chooses to intervene, there may be no other solution. According to tech policy analysts the government’s Mobile Seva App store has over a thousand apps and 85 million downloads, yet it is unknown among Indian users. Above all these concerns, a solution must come else there will be serious implications on local app business. There can be two possible solutions to this, one is that Government can completely fund the development of an indigenous mobile app store, secondly all the Indian Tech giants, developers can come to gather and make a development fund in which central government will also contribute. There is no doubt there are some issues and concerns in the minds of the local developers about the app store interface, security, data privacy and reliability but these small issues stand nowhere before a bigger problem that Google has created by announcing the commission on in app purchases. One major benefit of indigenous app store will be that it will boost the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission and Indian digital economy, and will also pave the way for more innovations in app developments.
Indigenous app store has the capacity to take on Google as India is the largest market for companies like Google, where there are 70 crore internet users, which can surely make a difference in the mobile development industry if India launches its own mobile app store.