Indian entrepreneurs have been calling for indigenous digital application store for some time now to take on American Google and Apple apps. Over a 100 startups and firms, including Paytm and MakeMyTrip, have expressed deep concerns about Google’s monopolistic hold on India.
This comes after Google recently said that starting next year, developers with an app on Google Play Store must give the company a cut as much as 30 per cent of several app-related payments. Apple Store also takes a 30 per cent cut. Both American companies have been in the limelight after Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, sued the American tech giants of breaking antitrust laws by forcing app makers to pay their 30 per cent fees. Various reports have highlighted that Google has sent notices to several firms in India, including Hotstar, Swiggy and Zomato.
Officials said the government is not averse to the idea of launching its own app store. They pointed out that the existing digital store for government apps, which was 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 DigiLocker. Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar took to microblogging platform Twitter to say that he is happy to receive notable suggestions from Indian app developers on how to encourage the ecosystem. “Encouraging Indian app developers is vital to create an #AatmanirbharBharat app ecosystem,” he tweeted.
An official said building an app store is like building a shopping mall and the government can very well facilitate it. He pointed out that for an indigenous app store to successfully take on Google and Apple’s dominance, it has to be as good and robust. Vivek Wadhwa, an American technology entrepreneur and academic told a local media outlet that the industry doesn’t need the government’s help in this. He said the developers and entrepreneurs can crowdsource it and keep a minimal charge of two per cent to run the platform. “If the local app store is scaled up globally after being initiated successfully in India, developers around the world will be happy to be on an alternative platform where they don’t have to shell out a hefty 30 per cent,” Wadhwa explained.