Paytm CEO and founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma in an interview, has expressed severe disappointment regarding the takedown of Paytm from Play Store, one of India’s largest digital payment platforms that he founded over a decade ago. Sharma, in an interview almost immediately post removal, had blasted out strong criticism on Google for its anti-competitive, monopolistic practices. In another interview today with Economic Times, Sharma says that he is premonising a long drawn out battle with the tech giant.
It has been an eventful few days for Indian e-commerce and fintech giant Paytm. In a rare and largely unexpected move, the company saw its app getting pulled down by Google from Android’s Play store in an alleged violation of its gambling rules.
In a blog post penned by Google almost just before the app was taken down, the tech giant had stated that it would be removing all apps that had violated its gambling policies in India. The company also touched upon how apps that promote and direct users to use certain services that involve paid fantasy leagues and betting tournaments will fall into the same ban criteria. And then, surely not out of co-incidence, Paytm saw itself being booted out of the store, hours after Google penned the post.
Paytm has since then made a comeback on the Play Store, after scrubbing the ‘cashback’ feature from its app which caused all the ruckus in the first place. However, the CEO isn’t just going to let this slide by, and expects a long drawn ‘fight’ against the tech giant.
He added that this is the time to amplify the voice of both the Indian tech sphere and the startup community. Paytm has demanded an explanation from Google as to why their app was unjustly removed from the PlayStore and hopes that a definitive answer will help better understand Google’s recent decision in arbitrarily removing various apps from its platform. Sharma in the same interview, has expressed his concerns regarding the company being ‘singled out’ and ‘targeted’ even when similar apps were getting off scot-free for running the same services in a much more shady manner.
Sharma also expressed his intent of asking for government intervention regarding the issue, while raising questions against Google’s policies in regulating such isolated acts,that have seen apps that are compliant to Indian laws getting banned on their platform. Claiming complete and absolute faith on the Indian government and its antitrust body, Sharma hasn’t shied away from questioning Google on running a similar cashback scratchcard event on its own GPay payment app. Paytm, on the other hand, was handed a temporary ban for running a cashback based cricket promotion event on its app, which resembles the GPay card scratch feature but was seen by the company to be a violation of its gambling policies within the subcontinent.
The CEO of the $16 Bn valued fintech upstart has also called for a reshaping and reforming of the industry regulatory bodies which are currently dominated by American tech majors, with adequate representation from the local tech corporations.