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Indian startup founders gear up to take on Google’s Play Store policies

India startups

About a month ago, Vijay Shekhar Sharma (VSS), the founder of payments company Paytm, created a WhatsApp group for Indian startup founders, to enable them to network and connect with each other. Called "India Startup Connect", the group currently has 163 members. At 12:29 pm on Tuesday afternoon, a message on the group from Murugavel Janakiraman set a chain of events into motion, which could have consequences for Google in India. Janakiraman - better known as Muruga - is a battle-hardened Indian founder of a publicly listed matrimony company, aptly called Matrimony, who has been taking on Google for over a decade now: In 2012, Matrimony (previously Consim Info) lost a case in the Madras High Court, trying to bar Google from allowing his competitors from advertising on the keywords 'Bharat' and Matrimony'. Matrimony.com was previously Bharatmatrimony.com. Its appeal against Google is still pending with the Supreme court of India. In 2018, it tasted success against Google: the Competition Commission of India fined Google India Rs 136 crores, finding it guilty of abusing its dominant position in search, based on complaints filed by Matrimony and CUTS International. The worst fear is coming true... "The worst fear is coming true", Muruga had written, adding that "We can't any more stay idle. It is a death kneel digital companies and payment companies in India. How can companies survive by paying 30% Google tax and Apple tax." 32 minutes later VSS told the group that he is hosting a zoom call later that…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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