One of India’s leading digital payments application, Paytm has accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google of violating the competition rules after it removed the rival’s app from its Play Store on Friday for allegedly infringing its gambling policies.
“You’ve got a player which regulates India’s digital ecosystem, while competing with many companies in the same ecosystem,” stated Madhur Deora, president, One97 Communications Pvt., which owns Paytm. “They have all the levers and can decide which app can be brought down and when/how is that not a problem?” he added.
“Update: And we’re back!” said Paytm in a terse tweet.
On Friday, Google has apparently removed the Paytm app stating that it allegedly violates the company’s rules around online gambling. In a blog post, the company said that Paytm’s recently launched ‘Paytm Cricket League’ was found in violation of the Play Store policies on gambling. A source within Google said that the Google team that worked with developers reached out to Paytm repeatedly to fix the issues with the app. However, Paytm made repeated violations of the Google policy, noted the source.
“We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting,” the company stated in its official Indian blog.
Nonetheless, soon after Google took down the Paytm app from its play store, the company stated “We recently launched the ‘Paytm Cricket League’ on our consumer app for users to engage in their passion for cricket and get cashback. The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them, and receive Paytm Cashback. Today afternoon, we received communication from Google that they are suspending our app because they believe this to be a violation of their Play Store policies on gambling. The Paytm Android app has thus been unlisted from Google’s Play Store and is temporarily unavailable to users for new downloads or updates.”
Further, President Madhur Deora said that ‘the five-sticker game conceived by Paytm was straightforward and no more a gambling opportunity than Google Pay’s own cash-back promotions. If India wants a flourishing digital ecosystem, no one player should have such inordinate power’.
“They are the judge and the jury. They cannot be both,” he added.