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Beneath Paytm, Google drama lies a bigger monster: Beware India!

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Soru Kumar
Soru Kumar
Product and Technology Leader based out San Francisco

The empire of Google is acting like judge, jury and executioner, said Paytm founder and CEO, Vijay Shekhar while talking about Paytm and google store drama. Without getting into the specifics, I’d like to draw readers’ attention to the below quote that gives us a clue on why it is a bigger issue than it seems on the surface.

“someone else’s hand is blessing the business in India, not the rules and regulation of our Land”

Vijay S. Sharma, Paytm CEO

For India, it is not merely a challenge of saving the start-up ecosystem from the tyranny of a monopolist. India needs also to worry about who the monopolist is. Google is first and foremost a foreign company — and it prioritizes the interest of America before India.

Market Power and Monopoly

Startup founders in India have been talking about the monopoly power of ‘global’ giants for a long time. It is easy to be cynical and dismiss them, rationalizing they are crying foul to avoid competition. Why not? As a parent, we have seen kids complaining about a neighbor’s kid after loosing a street cricket match.

However, we also know that bullies exist. Indian Founders are crying foul because there is a systematic problem. We must understand and raise voice against it. Otherwise, our startup will pay rent to global power like Facebook and Google to live and operate in their own home. Monopoly unchecked will transform into a corporate colonialism.

Google is an American Company that operates in India

Two months back, in the USA, House committee on the judiciary questioned the big boys of technology world, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. They grilled them on their market power, and how they exercise it to kill competition and gain more market dominance. For the starters, the hearing is a window to understand the growing monopoly of technology behemoths, and how they curb startup ecosystem and innovation.

Market monopoly is a serious problem. America needs to work on it; India needs to work on it; All countries need to work on it. However, for India, the issue is more serious because the monopolist is a foreigner with own interest and value system. When asked whether Google is committed to supporting America and the US military, Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded:

Google is deeply committed to serving the US military and the government, and we have undertaken multiple projects.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Closing Thoughts

Free market and open world is a philosophy that we must live by. However, it requires all parties to be transparent. It is not enough that we don’t have a hidden agenda, we also need to make sure that the companies we are doing business with are transparent. We need to make sure, like us, they believe in a positive-sum relationship. If a company is multinational on paper, we ensure that they behave like a global company, and don’t differentiate between countries.

In the environment the world is in, the concept of global company is romantic. In the real world, we know nationalism does not allow any company to become truly ‘global’, so India as a country need to take care of her own interest.

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Soru Kumar
Soru Kumar
Product and Technology Leader based out San Francisco
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