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Google removes Indian matrimonial, job search apps

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Google removes Indian matrimonial, job search apps

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NEW DELHI:

Google began removing the apps of 10 companies in India on Friday, including some popular matrimony apps such as Bharat Matrimony and job search app Naukri, in a dispute over service fee payments in one of the company’s fastest-growing markets.

Indian startups have for years been protesting against many of the US giant’s practices, including its in-app fee charges. Google says its fees help develop and promote the Android and Play Store app ecosystem.

On Friday, India’s Matrimony.com (MATI.NS), opens new tab matchmaking apps Bharat Matrimony, Christian Matrimony, Muslim Matrimony and Jodii were removed from Google’s Play Store, its founder Murugavel Janakiraman told Reuters.

He said it was a dark day for India’s internet.

“Our apps are getting deleted one by one. It literally means all the top matrimony services will be deleted,” he said.

Matrimonial apps and websites have been growing in popularity in India as younger people shun traditional matchmaking by parents.

Matrimony.com’s Bharat Matrimony app had been downloaded more than 50 million times, Janakiraman said. The company said it has more than 40 million customers.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), opens new tab, sent notices on Friday of Play Store violations to Matrimony.com and Info Edge (INED.NS), opens new tab.

Info Edge’s job search app Naukri and real estate search firm 99acres were also removed, according to Google Play Store listings.

Matrimony.com shares fell as much as 2.7% initially but closed up 2.2% on Friday, while Info Edge dropped 1.5% before paring losses.

The dispute centres on efforts by some Indian startups to stop Google from imposing a fee of 11% to 26% on in-app payments, after the country’s antitrust authorities ordered it to dismantle an earlier system of charging 15% to 30%.

But Google effectively received the go-ahead to charge the fee or remove apps after two court decisions in January and February, one by the Supreme Court.

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