Google crackdown against BharatMatrimony, Jeevansathi: Here's what happened - Hindustan Times
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Google crackdown against BharatMatrimony, Jeevansathi: Here's what happened

ByVaishnawi Sinha
Mar 01, 2024 03:01 PM IST

Google is mulling the removal of multiple apps in India by 10 companies, including BharatMatrimony and Jeevansathi.

Google is currently mulling taking down apps by 10 companies in India, including some of the top matrimony apps in the country. The tech giant has decided to take this step over a dispute regarding the non-payment of service fees by these companies, reported Reuters.

Google is planning to take down multiple Indian matrimony apps (Reuters)
Google is planning to take down multiple Indian matrimony apps (Reuters)

Google's parent company Alphabet Inc is expected to commence a showdown with BharatMatrimony and Jeevansathi, two of the most noted matrimony apps in India, over the service fee dispute going on for the past few months.

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The dispute centres on the startups' efforts to stop Google from imposing a fee of 11% to 26% on in-app payments in India, after antitrust authorities ordered it to dismantle an earlier system of charging 15% to 30%.

But Google effectively received a go-ahead to charge the fee or remove apps after two court decisions in January and February, one by the Supreme Court, not to give any relief to startups.

Now, Google has sent a notice to multiple Indian startups regarding Play Store violations. These companies include Matrimony.com, which runs the app BharatMatrimony, and Info Edge, which runs Jeevansathi. The execs of these companies told Reuters that they are reviewing the notices, and will plan their next steps accordingly.

Murugavel Janakiraman, the founder of Matrimony.com, said that these notices from Google could mean that these matrimony apps “could literally be deleted.” Ever since the news broke, shares of Matrimony.com fell 2.7 percent and Info Edge dropped 1.5%.

Info Edge founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani said it had cleared all pending Google invoices in a timely manner and was compliant with its policies.

Google calls out Indian startups

In a recent blogpost, Google highlighted that 10 Indian companies had chosen for an extended period of time not to pay for the “immense value they receive on Google Play”, without naming any specific apps.

"For years, no court or regulator has denied Google Play's right to charge," the company said on Friday, adding that the Supreme Court on February 9 also "refused to interfere" with its right to do so.

Google's app removal could anger the Indian startup community which has been protesting many of the U.S. giant's practices for years. The firm, which denies any wrongdoing, dominates the Indian market as 94% share of phones are based on its Android platform.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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