Google's removal of certain India matrimony apps prompts outcry; executive labels it a 'dark day

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The dispute centres on efforts by some Indian startups to stop Google from imposing a fee of 11% to 26% on in-app payments, after the country's antitrust authorities ordered it to dismantle an earlier system of charging 15% to 30%.

Google began removing the apps of 10 companies in India on Friday, including some popular matrimony apps such as Bharat Matrimony, in a dispute over service fee payments, potentially sparking a showdown with startup firms.

The dispute centres on efforts by some Indian startups to stop Google from imposing a fee of 11% to 26% on in-app payments, after the country's antitrust authorities ordered it to dismantle an earlier system of charging 15% to 30%.

But Google effectively received a go-ahead to charge the fee or remove apps after two court decisions in January and February, one by the Supreme Court, not to give any relief to startups.

Matrimony.com dating apps Bharat Matrimony, Christian Matrimony, Muslim Matrimony and Jodii were deleted on Friday, company founder Murugavel Janakiraman said, describing the move as a "dark day of Indian Internet".

The unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), has sent notices of Play Store violations to Indian companies Matrimony.com (MATI.NS), , which runs the app BharatMatrimony, and Info Edge (INED.NS),  which runs a similar app, Jeevansathi.

Google's app removal could anger the Indian startup community which has been protesting many of the U.S. giant's practices for years.

The firm, which denies any wrongdoing, dominates the Indian market as 94% share of phones are based on its Android platform.

Google says its fee supports investments in the app store and the Android mobile operating system, ensuring free distribution, and covering developer tools and analytic services.

Just 3% of the more than 200,000 Indian developers who use the Google Play platform are required to pay any service fee, it added.