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Walmart PhonePe challenges Google with India app store.

Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta are among the top names whose applications are on PhonePe’s Indus Appstore, an Android app store established Wednesday to threaten Google’s hegemony in its biggest user market.

PhonePe has equipped the Indus Appstore with developer-friendly terms and customizable features to compete with the Google Play Store. Indus Appstore includes 12 regional languages alongside English and 24/7 assistance, the $12 billion Walmart-backed fintech claimed.

Over 200,000 applications, including Flipkart, Spotify, and Paytm, are available in 45 categories on the app store, which enables third-party payments and has no listing charge for one year. At a press conference, PhonePe co-founder and CEO Sameer Nigam announced developers may utilize third-party payment providers and gateways without fees.

Last September, the marketplace began courting developers, but Google applications were absent. PhonePe, which dominates India’s mobile payments industry, is collaborating with several third-party aggregators to onboard applications, and many prominent companies have signed up for the Indus App Store.

Other localized features of the Indus App Store include app discovery via short videos and cellphone number signup instead of an email address. It provides “smart updates,” which send changes to clients’ phones during data-rich hours.

Indus Appstore is the latest effort by app developers worldwide to challenge Google and Apple’s mobile app duopoly and unjust pricing. App developers worldwide are protesting the two internet giants’ app store commissions. Many complaints have accused the corporations, who control over 99 percent of worldwide mobile app consumer expenditure, of abusing their dominating position to charge up to 30% on app purchases.

The world’s biggest app download market is India, with 750 million to 800 million smartphone users. Nigam said the Indus Appstore exists because “we want to have a point of view on what we can and cannot do” and that one or two corporations should not dominate what the country consumes.

“Our alternative will have different features and capabilities. Some will like us; others will not. I simply want to compete on merit,” he said, adding that competition will force Google to improve its Play Store terms in India.

PhonePe’s website lets users download the app store (they must sideload it on Android phones). Nigam said the company is in negotiations with “multiple” phonemakers and wants to clinch agreements in a few weeks.

Indus Appstore “promises” to provide developers with more information, including when and why their app was withdrawn.

Nigam claimed PhonePe would charge developers for app discovery and put advertisements on the Indus App Store.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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