PhonePe launches app store sans commission charges for developers

Using aggregators that have channeled most popular apps into its new app marketplace, PhonePe seems to be mounting a challenge to Google’s unpopular fees for developers.

February 22, 2024 03:19 am | Updated 07:02 am IST - AROON DEEP

In what is likely to be a challenge for Google, Inc., PhonePe Pvt. Ltd. on Wednesday launched Indus Appstore, a mobile application marketplace that will not seek fees from app developers for in-app payments. Google and Apple’s respective platform fees for applications offering digital services have long been a source of anguish for app developers, who find the 15–30% commission on all in-app purchases for online services a hard pill to swallow. 

While these fees only apply for digital services, and not real-life ones like cab rides on cab aggregators like Uber and Ola, pureplay digital apps have sought ways of avoiding Google and Apple’s fees around the world. In India, apps in the OTT streaming, matrimonial and dating space have, for instance, been among those who have mounted the fiercest opposition to the fees.

PhonePe isn’t even requiring any developers to have the firm’s own payment gateway as an option to pay for in-app purchases at the moment — while PhonePe CEO Sameer Nigam said that an option to allow developers to plug in the company’s payment infrastructure into their apps will be introduced soon, it would be “strictly optional”. 

Another constituency that stands to benefit is real money gaming apps, where users can risk money in games like poker and rummy for a chance to win money. Google is piloting allowing certain real money gaming platforms, while Apple does not permit them on its iOS operating system for iPhones. Mr. Nigam said that any app that was legal to operate in India would be allowed to be listed on the platform. 

Over 2 lakh applications are on the Indus Appstore at the moment — though each app’s developer has not expressly chosen to put them on the platform. Mr. Nigam explained that many app listings had been brought to Indus through ‘aggregators’ who are authorised to distribute apps to other app marketplaces. 

Even so, the app store may still  be something for Google to worry about: Mr. Nigam said that talks were on with phone makers to have the Indus Appstore installed by default on handsets sold in India soon. The marketplace can currently only be installed through Indus’s website, and scale through pre-installations on new phones would be worked on by the end of the year, he said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.