Google Removes Popular Indian Apps From Play Store Over Fee Dispute

Google recently made headlines by pulling more than a dozen popular apps from the Play Store in India due to a long-standing fee dispute. This move has escalated a three-year dispute between the tech giant and developers who have persistently not complied with Google’s billing policies. As a result, several well-known Indian companies have had their apps removed from the Play Store, leading to concerns about the impact on their businesses and the wider Indian app ecosystem.

Violation of Play Store Policies

According to Google, 10 companies in India, including many well-established names that were not disclosed, have violated the Play Store policies by avoiding payment of fees despite benefiting from the platform. These developers had ample time to prepare and comply with Google’s payment policies, but they chose not to do so. It’s worth noting that these same firms continue to comply with the payment policies of other app stores, which raises questions about their reluctance to adhere to Google’s rules.

Apps Removed from the Play Store

Among the popular apps that were pulled from the Play Store in India are matrimony platforms Shaadi,, and Bharat Matrimony. Additionally, Info Edge’s Naukri and 99acres, audio storytelling apps Kuku FM and Stage, Alt Balaji’s Altt, and dating service QuackQuack have also been axed from the store. This move is particularly significant as Android handsets command about 95% of the smartphone market in India, potentially posing an existential crisis for these apps.

Legal Implications and Allegations

Murugavel Janakiraman, the CEO of Bharat Matrimony, has voiced his concerns about Google’s actions, suggesting that the tech giant has violated an Indian antitrust watchdog’s order. He believes that this move is detrimental to the Indian internet and is evaluating legal options. Lal Chand Bisu, the co-founder and CEO of Kuku FM, expressed his frustration with Google and referred to the Android maker as “the most evil” partner. These allegations and potential legal actions highlight the growing tension between app developers and Google in India.

Comparison with Apple’s App Store Policies

One interesting aspect of this fee dispute is the comparison with Apple’s App Store policies. Some developers have complied with Apple’s fees, leading to questions about why they are having issues with Google. The discrepancy raises concerns about the fairness and consistency of Google’s policies compared to its competitor. However, it’s important to note that Google’s requirement is not to restrict developers from using any payment platform except their own, but rather to ensure that it is an option for users.

Developers’ Efforts to Lower Fees

It appears that these developers are not only challenging Google’s fees but also working with the Indian government to force the tech giant to lower Play Store fees dramatically. This move is part of a larger strategy to catalyze action from the Indian courts and draw attention to the issue. Similar to Epic’s actions against Apple and Google’s app store policies, these developers aim to take their case to court and create significant awareness with the hope of reducing app store fees in the long run.

Google’s Justification and Policy Enforcement

Google has defended its actions by stating that it has given developers more than three years to prepare and comply with its policies. The tech giant emphasizes the need for consistent application of its policies across the ecosystem and asserts that enforcement may include the removal of non-compliant apps from the Play Store. Google’s blog post on the matter highlights the importance of a fair and equitable experience for India’s thriving digital ecosystem. The company also suggests that developers can resubmit their apps by complying with the rules or partner with alternative app stores.

Impact on the Indian App Ecosystem

The removal of these popular Indian apps from the Play Store has raised concerns about the impact on the Indian app ecosystem as a whole. With Android handsets dominating the market, the absence of these apps could disrupt the user experience and potentially lead to a decline in user engagement. Moreover, the removal of these apps poses a significant challenge for the affected companies, as they now need to find alternative distribution channels or develop their own app stores.

The Importance of the Indian Market for Google

India is a crucial overseas market for Google, with the tech giant having made significant investments in the country over the past decade. With over half a billion people in India using Google’s services, the Play Store ecosystem plays a vital role in the digital landscape. Google’s announcement highlights the significant number of jobs supported by the Android and Play Store ecosystem in India. However, it’s worth noting that only a small percentage of developers in India need to pay a service fee, and fewer than five dozen developers are subject to fees above 15%.


The fee dispute between Google and Indian app developers has resulted in the removal of popular apps from the Play Store, creating concerns about the impact on businesses and the Indian app ecosystem. While Google emphasizes the need for compliance with its payment policies, developers argue for a reduction in Play Store fees and are working with the Indian government to address the issue. The outcome of this dispute will have far-reaching implications not only for Google and app developers but also for the broader digital ecosystem in India.


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