A store is born: Why Indus is the right Google challenger at the right time


Sohini Mitter

29 reads

Sohini Mitter

29 reads

Indus Appstore comes at a time when the chorus for an indigenous app ecosystem is at fever pitch after Google's delisting of 200 Indian apps. Users are lapping it up, with downloads soaring past 300,000. Indus is well-intentioned, but can it replicate East Asia's third-party app store successes?

March 07, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Local third-party app stores are a big deal in Asia's developed app economies. In China, Huawei App Store beats Apple App Store's MAUs by ~200 million
  • On Indus Appstore, 8 of the top 10 apps in the ‘Trending’ section are those that were delisted by Google last week
  • Zero listing fees (for the first year only) and zero commissions on in-app purchases are driving developer registrations on Indus
  • App developers typically see a 200% growth in downloads when they distribute their apps through third-party stores in addition to Google and Apple stores

Digital East India Company.

That’s what Indian founders have labelled Google over the past week after the search giant delisted scores of homegrown apps from its Play Store, citing non-payment of service fees by their publishers. It came as a shock, of course, with popular apps, including,, 99acres, Kuku FM, Altt, Jeevansathi, BharatMatrimony, TrulyMadly, QuackQuack, STAGE, Shiksha, and 150 others deplatformed in one fell swoop.

Four days later, following government intervention, Google went on to “temporarily reinstate” the apps. This, though, is more of a stalemate than a resolution.

Founders allege that several apps are still excluded from the Play Store or have been reinstated but without in-app billing systems, which is as good as being delisted since the business cannot earn revenues. They argue that Google is continuing to force its monopolistic policies on app developers despite a 2022 antitrust directive from the Competition Commission of India (CCI).


Lawyers say that CCI is the “only entity” that can resolve this mess since the Supreme Court has refused to grant any relief to app developers.

“This is appropriately a matter for the CCI to hear and decide upon. It is likely that the SC may also ask the app developers to go there, though with a directive [for CCI] to hear the matter expeditiously,” Abhishek Malhotra, ex-founding partner at TMT Law Practice and a member of the Bar Councils of Delhi and California, tells The CapTable.

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