Kuku FM, Bharat Matrimony, and Other Indian Apps Removed From Google Play Store

Highlights
  • Several Indian apps have been delisted from the Google Play Store.
  • Google says that these apps have not paid service fees for selling digital goods using the distribution network of the Play Store.

Google has removed 10 Indian apps from its Android Play Store. The list includes names like Kuku FM, Bharat Matrimony, Shaadi.com, Naukri.com, 99 acres, Truly Madly, Quack Quack, Stage, ALTT (Alt Balaji), and Stage OTT. Last week, the company warned some app developers for failing to comply with Google’s billing policies.

Google has not disclosed the exact list of disputed apps. Instead, the tech giant has delisted these apps and notified about the move through a blog post. The change was noticed by Indian users when they were unable to find certain apps on the Play Store.

Google’s App Distribution Policies Are Unfair, Cite Developers

Lal Chand Basu, CEO of Kuku FM, has criticized Google by calling it the most evil company for businesses. In his X (formerly Twitter) post, he mentions that companies are forced to accept Google’s terms and conditions. Bisu further highlighted the need for an Indian ecosystem for indigenous startups.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder of Naukri.com and 99acres, also expressed his displeasure over Google. He also tagged Indian Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal to highlight the importance of a homegrown app store, similar to how UPI was developed.

Shark Tank icon Anupam Mittal, also the founder of Shaadi.com, mentions that Google’s claims are false narratives. He indirectly mentioned that the service fees imposed on the delisted apps are unfair, referencing Aamir Khan’s Lagaan movie.

According to Google’s official statement, the concerned apps had skipped paying service fees the company charges from developers for selling digital goods on the Play Store. Google further added that it had provided ample time, over three years, to the app developers to comply with the billing policy.

Google says concerned app developers can continue distributing their apps via third-party sources. Existing users who downloaded the app from the Play Store can continue to use the respective apps without interruptions.

Google also mentions in its post that certain app developers secured interim protections from the Supreme Court of India and intentionally chose not to pay service fees. If we look closely, every delisted app offers some paid subscription. Hence, there is a possibility that the dispute between Google and app developers is around these lines.

Interestingly, apart from Kuku FM, Naukri.com, 99acres, and Shaadi.com, other apps removed from the Play Store have not commented on the situation yet. It is worth noting that these apps are still available on the Apple App Store.

Google also says it will return the apps to its Play Store once the developers comply with the regulations. It will be interesting to see how these apps react to the situation.

Google’s Play Store and Apple App Store are two of the biggest app markets on the internet. However, both companies are often criticized for charging high commission fees on in-app purchases. Companies like Epic Games have taken a legal stand against Apple and Google over their unfair app distribution policies.

Update: March 3, 9:00 AM

Naukri.com, 99acres, and Shaadi.com have returned to the Google Play Store. However, Anupam Mittal mentions that these apps have temporarily paused all types of in-app purchases and subscriptions, which is the primary reason for the dispute.

Although these apps are back on the Play Store, the issues between app developers and Google are still unresolved.