Taking on Google, Paytm to host Mini App Store developers’ conference this week

Business Line, October 06, 2020

Taking its bitter battle against Google’s monopoly to the next level, Paytm is organising a developers’ conference on Thursday to attract indigenous players on its newly-launched mini app store.

“Start-ups and technology companies can join this conference to showcase their mini-apps and learn about best practices to increase the reach of their innovative products and services,” Paytm said in a statement.

Launched recently, Paytm’s Android Mini App Store lists and distributes custom-built mobile web apps based on open source technologies such as HTML and Javascript. More than 300 app-based service providers such as Decathalon, Ola, Park+, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, and NoBroker have joined the programme. A developer dashboard for analytics, payments collection, along with various marketing tools, will be provided to engage with the users.

This development comes even as Google has been facing a severe backlash over a transaction fee on in-app purchases. The internet giant has been accused by the start-up ecosystem, led by Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, of misusing its monopoly.

Security concerns

But the Paytm app store is not a classical app store; it is a collection of mobile websites that give users an app-like experience without the need to download it. It links the user to light web apps created using HTML or Javascript.

“These Indian apps will not be full-fledged apps per se; they will function like websites while providing all functionalities of the native apps,” said Sonam Chandwani, Managing Partner at KS Legal & Associates.

Analysts said that Paytm will need to ensure that its users are not potentially exposed to security risks and the developers on its store are unable to bypass security features of the in-app browser.

“While it is heartening to see somebody taking on Google, issues of transparency, safety and security of the Indian app store would also need to be addressed,” said Udai S Mehta, Deputy Executive Director, CUTS International.

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