Indian Government Objects to Google Play Store App Delistings

Preeti Bali / 1:21 pm / March 4, 2024

The Indian government, led by IT and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, has expressed strong reservations regarding the recent removal of over 10 popular Indian apps from the Google Play Store. This action, reportedly stemming from non-compliance with Google’s billing policies, has sparked controversy and raised concerns about the power dynamics within the digital marketplace.

Minister Vaishnaw’s Stance

Minister Vaishnaw has taken a proactive approach, engaging with both Google and the affected app developers. He has scheduled a meeting for next week and firmly stated, “This kind of delisting cannot be permitted.” This statement reflects the government’s determination to address the issue and protect the interests of Indian app developers.

Apps Affected by Delisting

The apps removed from the Play Store include several well-established names in the Indian digital landscape, such as:

  • Matrimonial services: Naukri, 99acres, Bharat Matrimony, Telugu Matrimony, Tamil Matrimony, Marathi Matrimony,, Truly Madly, and QuackQuack.
  • Entertainment and streaming: Stage, Alt Balaji (Balaji Telefilms), and Kuku FM.

Background and Dispute

The underlying issue revolves around Google’s billing policies and the fees it charges app developers for listing their apps on the Play Store. Developers, both globally and in India, have voiced their concerns about the high cost associated with using Google’s platform.

Efforts to Address the Issue

In India, app developers sought intervention from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to address their grievances. They advocated for the ability to utilize alternative payment methods beyond those mandated by Google.

Following the CCI’s intervention, Google revised its policies, allowing the use of other payment methods. However, a commission still applies to in-app purchases, impacting developer profits.

Ongoing Discussion and Future Implications

The debate surrounding Google’s billing practices and their impact on app developers continues. The CCI’s final decision on the fairness of Google’s revised policies is yet to be issued.

Minister Vaishnaw’s strong stance and his upcoming meeting with Google and the developers represent a significant development in this ongoing saga. The outcome of these discussions holds the potential to shape the future landscape for app development and distribution in India.


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