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IT Ministers meet Google and Indian startups to address Play Store delisting issue

A delegation of Indian App Developers attended the meeting to seek restoration of their apps on Google Play Store.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), representing Indian app developers, conducted meetings with Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Minister of IT and Telecom, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, as reported by The Hindu Business Line.

Indian app developers, impacted by Google's decision to delist their apps, are calling on the government to intervene and reinstate their apps on the Play Store for the sake of business continuity. As the issue is currently under consideration by the Competition Commission of India, the developers want Google to wait for the final order before implementing any actions.

Chandrasekhar posted about the meeting on X (formerly Twitter) saying, “Today, start-ups presented their concerns regarding a few policies of Google. Assured them that MeitY will take it up with Google for a sustainable and long-term solution (sic).”

In his statement, he emphasised that the government remains committed to fostering a level playing field for both large and small enterprises. Furthermore, efforts will persist in establishing an ecosystem that promotes growth for startups. During the meeting, the founders addressed concerns related to discriminatory pricing and accused Google of abusing its dominant position, among other issues.

Government officials have also engaged in discussions with representatives from Google to address the issue, during which the tech giant presented its perspective on the matter.

Indian app developers have reported that approximately 200 apps faced repercussions from Google's recent delisting actions, and only a small number have been reinstated. The reinstated apps complied with Google's Play Store billing policy by opting for a consumption-only model, restricting them from utilising in-app billing. Consequently, this limitation hampers their ability to onboard new customers, as highlighted by the founders.

Prateek Jain, associate director, ADIF, said, “The recent move of delisting of certain apps from the Playstore by Google highlights a looming threat which the Indian start-ups could be plagued with more often in the near future. It brings to the forefront the necessities to advocate for fair policies, the need for promoting a level-playing field for the entire business ecosystem, and as a result, enabling an environment of growth and innovation.”

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