More than 150 startups and firms in India are working to form an alliance and toying with the idea of launching an app store to cut their reliance on Google, five people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The list of entrepreneurs includes high-profile names, such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma, co-founder and chief executive of Paytm (India’s most valuable startup), Deep Kalra of travel ticketing firm MakeMyTrip, and executives from PolicyBazaar, RazorPay, and Sharechat. The growing list of founders expressed deep concerns about Google’s “monopolistic” hold on India, home to one of the world’s largest startup ecosystems, and discussed what they alleged was unfair and inconsistent enforcement of Play Store’s guidelines in the country. Their effort comes days after a small group of firms including Epic Games, Spotify, Basecamp, Match Group, ProtonMail forged their own coalition to pressure Apple and Google to make changes to their marketplace rules. The conversations in India, which began in recent weeks, escalated on Tuesday after Google said that starting next year developers with an app on Google Play Store must give the company a cut of as much as 30% of several app-related payments. Dozens of executives “from nearly every top startup and firm” in India attended a call on Tuesday to discuss the way forward, some of the people said, requesting anonymity. A 30% cut to Google is simply unfeasible, people on the call unanimously agreed.
I spoke about this in 2019 and it’s interesting to see where this is going