Indus appstore news: PhonePe launches made-in-India Indus Appstore to take on Google, Apple

Walmart-owned payments company PhonePe Wednesday launched its mobile app marketplace Indus Appstore for users, in an attempt to rival Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Sameer Nigam, CEO and founder PhonePe said, “Indus Appstore challenges the status quo, ushering in an era of more healthy competition in the mobile app marketplace, which in turn should help create a more democratic and vibrant Indian digital ecosystem.”

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The launch happened in New Delhi presence of communications and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, former Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and several startup founders including Info Edge founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Dream Sports cofounder and CEO Harsh Jain, Ixigo cofounder and CEO Aloke Bajpai and MapmyIndia CEO Rohan Verma.

The company had released the developer platform for the Android-based app marketplace in September 2023. At the time, PhonePe had said the platform would be free for developers for the first year, after which a nominal annual fee would apply.

The Indus Appstore looks to differentiate itself from Google and Apple by not charging developers any platform fee or commission for in-app payments. Developers will also be free to integrate any payment gateway of their choice inside their apps.

The launch of Indus Appstore comes at a time when Indian startup founders and app developers have been at loggerheads with US giants for restriction on choice of payments and high commission rates on in-app purchases.

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The issue has even reached the Supreme Court, which has refused to grant interim relief to apps by restraining Google from “delisting” apps from its Play Store if they don’t agree with the company’s billing policy. Following this, around 30 Indian startups have written to Google urging the company to not take any “precipitative steps” against them until the matter is fully heard in the Supreme Court.

According to Indus Appstore’s website, it will allow developers to employ video-led app discovery and run custom-targeted ads in Indian languages to differentiate itself from global competitors.

Several Indian consumer-facing companies including Zomato, Myntra, Domino’s, Flipkart, Dream11, Swiggy and Kotak Mahindra Bank have published their apps on Indus Appstore.

PhonePe acquired Indus Appstore’s parent company in May 2022 for $90 million. The firm was originally founded in 2013 by Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay alumni Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre and Sudhir Bangarambandi. While Dongre and Bangarambandi continue with Indus Appstore as chief product officer and chief technology officer, Deshmukh stepped down from his role of CEO this January.


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