A day after Google removed numerous major Indian apps from its Play Store for noncompliance with billing standards, IT and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated on Saturday (March 2) that such delisting cannot be tolerated.

Ashwini Vaishnaw

“The government strongly opposes Google’s decision to remove some apps from the Play Store.” “We will not allow app delisting,” Vaishnaw told PTI.

On Friday (March 1), Google deleted ten major Indian apps from its Play Store, including Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Kuku FM, and Naukri, and cautioned numerous more about potential consequences for failing to follow its billing policy. 

Anupam Mittal, founder and CEO of People Group, told Inc42 that the government should intervene now and direct CCI to guarantee Google complies with their judgment and promptly restore all delisted apps, including Shaadi.com. In any case, CCI is hearing the case, so what’s the rush to delist? This demonstrates their arrogance and impunity. 

Meanwhile, Info Edge cofounder Sanjeev Bikhchandani has stated that they were informed of the relocation only a few hours before it was carried out.

Google has also removed five of Info Edge’s apps from the Play Store: the flagship Naukri app, Naukri Recruiter, Naukrigulf Job Search App, 99acres, and Shiksha. However, the company’s matrimonial service, Jeevansathi, is still available on the app market.

“The app under consideration was Jeevansaathi. We cooperated with that on February 9. We received no warning or correspondence from Google regarding any of our other apps’ non-compliance. We received communication only a few hours before 99acres and Naukri were delisted. We were taken completely by surprise. “We are in contact with Google,” Bikhchandani told Inc 42.

Murugavel Janakiraman, cofounder and CEO of Matrimony, told Inc42 that Google erased all of their apps last night. More than 100 of our applications have been deleted. We are completely out of the Play Store, which means out of business. Whether you are big or tiny, Google is suggesting that if you do not embrace their monopolistic behavior, you will be delisted.

The latest development comes weeks after some businesses requested a halt in the delisting process until March 19. 

According to media sources, over 30 worried entrepreneurs wrote to Google, demanding that the delisting be halted until the hearing of the special leave petition (SLP). This change came when the Supreme Court agreed to consider the companies’ challenges to the billing regime.

Notably, a bench of justices led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud refused to issue an interim order in favor of these businesses, preventing them from being removed from Google Play. 

However, days prior, the Madras High Court requested that Google not remove some of these enterprises from the Play Store for at least three weeks. This was the second such dismissal by the HC since August 2023, when it dismissed 14 of the 16 petitions submitted by domestic entrepreneurs against the digital behemoth. 

The issue over Google’s billing structure erupted after the tech giant dropped its fee to 11-26% following CII intervention over the previous commission range of 15-30% for apps needing in-app purchases. 

Previously, when discussing Google’s new billing strategy, Mittal referred to the internet giant as ‘Digital East India Company’. In addition, he linked Google’s billing policy to the lagaan (tax) imposed by British authorities on Indian farmers during the colonial period.