Rakesh Deshmukh, Co-Founder and CEO, Indus OS

Being part of today’s digital-first world, we all use smartphones to perform numerous daily chores, be it cab booking, online orders, making or receiving payments, doing investments, amongst others. It would be a fair statement to make that smartphone apps are ubiquitous in the modern world. In short, smartphones have become a must-have tool for us to stay connected.

The smartphone ecosystem has been led by Android users, holding 95.23% of the mobile OS market in India. And when we speak of Android, there is only one name that crosses our mind – Google. Yes, Google has remained a leader in the app store ecosystem with Google Play Store housing around 3 million apps. However, despite its blazing popularity, Google has been in serious trouble over the last few months.

Grilling Google over “anti-competitive” behaviour

Recently, 36 states and the District of Columbia sued the undisputed leader for its “anti-competitive” behaviour. It’s being said that Google has monopolized the distribution of apps on Android devices that are powered by the Google Play Store, which leaves developers with no choice of approaching the third-party app stores but use Google’s Play store for app distribution while also paying a commission fee of 15-30%. At the same time, Android users also suffer because Android is the only OS available on most handsets.

Tackling the situation, Google smartly made a comeback by stating “(it is)strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others.” To address the ongoing tussle, Google also launched Android 12, where it ensured fair gameplay for third-party app stores, especially by revising the existing payments policy. In the following statements, it also promised to enable developers to distribute on the Android platform even if both parties disagree on business terms. The reason why Fortnite became accessible for Android users, allowing them to download this game from other app stores. But there is no clarity or conclusion regarding what’s next. Only time will tell.

The role of third-party app stores

The question of Language

The accessibility to third-party app stores like Indus App Bazaar will help users and developers in numerous ways. For instance, they will be able to search, discover and consume content in multiple regional languages. Even today, a major part of Indians speaks local languages such as Marathi, Bengali, Telugu, etc. But due to the language barrier, they find it difficult to use apps and make the most of them.

The dynamic nature of human interaction design

Third-party app stores sport simple and intuitive designs and interfaces to help new internet users easily discover and download content using their smartphones. For instance, users get specially curated banners and app collections that are crafted based on different themes and occasions. These app stores also offer interactive video feeds or app stories for users to quickly become familiar with the USPs of an app, features and how to use it efficiently. They also get information around new offers and trending apps, which can be downloaded in a jiffy without any hassle.

The need to ensure digital assistance

All Android Users know that an Email ID is imperative to access the app store to download apps from there. Although it’s quite normal for the urban population – where even kids have smartphones – to have an Email ID. But when it comes to the rural hinterlands, the situation is exactly the opposite. There are high chances that the rural population, especially the first-time smartphone users might not even be aware of Email IDs, how to create one and how it can benefit them. However, on third-party app stores like Indus App Bazaar, users don’t have to worry about this. They can simply open the app store and download any number of apps as per their need.

Summing up

Google has ruled the app store ecosystem due to the lack of options presented to users. But misusing this monopoly is certainly an unfair game. This is the reason it has been sued multiple times over the last few months. It’s high time that all Android app stores are given equal treatment. An app store that provides developers with complete freedom to create experiential and informative apps for users on the back of fair competition with other players in the space. At this moment, developers need backing in the form of access to the right tools and services that help them build apps without any hassles. This will help in driving innovation, which will be beneficial for both developers and users in their respective journeys.

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