Small developers often express exasperation at the vagaries of policies of Google and Apple’s App stores, and it turns out that the biggest companies aren’t immune either.
Paytm’s flagship app has been taken off the Google Play store. The app is no longer available for download for new users, though those who’ve downloaded the app on their phones will be able to use it as before. Google had earlier published a blog post saying it doesn’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting, and Paytm’s app was leading people towards fantasy games through its Paytm First Games initiative. The Paytm First Games app has also been taken off the Play Store, while other Paytm apps like Paytm Money are still available for download.
Paytm isn’t the only company that’s not been allowed to run fantasy games on its app. Google doesn’t allow apps which let you earn real money through betting or sports, and popular apps like Dream11 aren’t available on the Play either. But given how Google also runs Paytm competitor Google Pay, the move has raised some eyebrows in India. Previously, Google Pay competitor Mobikwik’s app was also removed from the Play Store for linking to the Aarogya Setu app.
Paytm has meanwhile assured users that their money is safe and the app will soon be back on the Play Store. “Paytm Android app is temporarily unavailable on Google’s Play Store for new downloads or updates. It will be back very soon. All your money is completely safe, and you can continue to enjoy your Paytm app as normal,” the company said on Twitter.
Paytm Android app is temporarily unavailable on Google's Play Store for new downloads or updates. It will be back very soon.
All your money is completely safe, and you can continue to enjoy your Paytm app as normal.
— Paytm (@Paytm) September 18, 2020
In the recent past, large startups have seen themselves at loggerheads with Google and Apple over their app store policies. Recently, Epic Games, which runs the popular game Fortnite, had offered users a discount if they made in-game purchases directly from its website instead of the App store. and for good reason — Apple takes a 30% commission on all product purchases that happen through its store. This however led to Apple banning the app from the App Store for breach of contract, and the two companies are now battling it out in court. It’s unlikely that the Paytm-Google battle will go the same way, but it appears that Paytm will not be able to direct its users towards Paytm First Games going forward, and this might come as a blow to the company — Paytm earns no money on its payments app, but hopes that it will be able to upsell services like fantasy games to its users to be able to earn revenue. With Google not allowing Paytm to link to Paytm First Games from its app any more, it appears that what could’ve been a lucrative revenue stream for Paytm during the IPL season has now been cut off.