Just a few hours back, Google Play store removed the Paytm app from its platform, confirming that the Paytm app violated its rules related to betting by unregulated authorities and many other reasons. The app removal came as a surprise for both the company and the users as Paytm’s removal from the platform could have severely affected the digital payment ecosystem in India. Once it was removed there was a lot of speculation behind the removal and Paytm did confirm the same on their channels, and assured the users that the app will be brought back soon.
Now a statement has been made by Paytm as well and it seems they are definitely not happy with the response of Google. As per them, they received the suspension email on Friday, without any prior warnings and the actions were taken due to Paytm’s two new cashback schemes that allowed users to earn scratch cards on its platform during IPL. As per the statement of the spokesperson from Paytm, “This is a fairly aggressive move by Google. The question is that should Google has the ‘powers’ to call an initiative (around payments) as gambling; especially when they have a commercial interest in the ecosystem, with this amount of power. Clearly, this move shows that they are a ‘regulator’ of India’s digital ecosystem and can suspend any app, which is not a good place for India’s digital players.”
They also received written communication about their First Games app, but the issue was not related to the ban. According to the statement given in another letter to FIFS(Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports), it has been mentioned that “We observed that Google has been using its policies and regulations selectively allowing a few large companies to distribute and list their respective real-money gaming apps on the Play Store, without any hindrance, according to the letter sent to FIFS members.”
If this turns out to be true then Google Play Store might see the same kind of brunt from all the companies as Apple Play Store has been facing from the last few months. These kinds of incidents do raise a question on whether the platforms like App Store and Play Store are making their own policies and are not giving the companies the freedom to create new features in-app.