Shaadi.com CEO accuses Google of modern colonialism and unfair practices
06 Dec 2023
In a recent interview, Anupam Mittal, the CEO of Shaadi.com, drew a striking parallel between tech giant Google and the historical East India Company, accusing Google of engaging in modern-day colonialism within the digital marketplace. Mittal expressed concerns about what he dubbed the “Google Tax,” a fee ranging from 20 to a staggering 50 percent imposed on startups, not just for distribution but ostensibly to protect brands competitors.
Mittal asserted that the situation was significant, emphasizing that it was a substantial issue. He mentioned that Google would likely attempt to downplay it, as per the usual approach of monopolists. He compared Google’s approach to a dictator’s leadership, alleging a pattern where the company first gains support, then seizes control, and eventually turns against the very entities that contributed to its success.
Mittal went on to elaborate on Google’s strategy, pointing out attempts to charge 15% to 30% of any app’s revenue downloaded from the Play Store, in addition to the substantial earnings through advertising. He criticized Google’s manipulation of search results, forcing competitors to bid against their brands for visibility.
Expressing concern over Google’s recent move, the Google Play Billing System (GPB) or Users Choice Billing (UCB), Mittal labeled the changes as cosmetic, aimed at evading legal scrutiny. These alterations may result in additional charges ranging from 11 to 29% of an app’s revenue, based on categories and services used.
Mittal took to social media platform X, to share his thoughts, stating that many startups pay anywhere between 20 and 50% of Google Tax to secure distribution and protect their brand. He likened it to the Digital East India Company. He urged regulatory bodies, particularly the Competition Commission of India (CCI), to intervene. He highlighted instances where CCI imposed penalties on Google’s app billing system, only for the tech giant to allegedly rebrand with the same practices.
Amid ongoing legal battles, Mittal expressed concerns about the fate of smaller startups, acknowledging government attention but warning of potential delays in justice due to Google’s vast resources. The allegations against Google raise significant questions about fair competition and the role of regulatory bodies in overseeing digital market practices.