To a casual observer, the developers’ conference held on 8 October could pass for a reenactment of India’s freedom struggle. “It’s another fight for the freedom of India,” said one attendee, another lamented about “the whole East India Company structure which is trying to oppress us”.

Organised by India’s most valuable startup, Paytm*, the conference was attended by a diverse group of companies. Startups such as healthcare platform GOQii and foodtech company Innerchef, venture capital firm India Quotient, and even matrimony website Bharat Matrimony.

What they all had in common was animosity towards tech giant Google and its move to enforce enforce Google India blog Listening to developer feedback to improve Google Play Read more  its new Play Store billing policy. The Play Store is Google’s app marketplace on its mobile operating system, Android. Google charges developers a 30% fee for transactions done through apps listed on the Play Store, but this rule wasn’t always enforced strictly.

“What Paytm has started is a freedom movement. The internet in our country is controlled by Google and we all are at its mercy. It is time that India comes together and frees the internet from the clutches of Google,” said Murugavel Janakiraman, founder and CEO of Bharat Matrimony, at the conference. 

He wasn’t just referring to the conference.

In response to Google’s move, Paytm launched a ‘Mini App Store’ on 5 October. It asked startups to list their apps—or mobile websites—on the store, promising them the attention of its 150 million monthly active users (MAU). Google quickly backtracked backtracked Google India Blog Google Play’s billing system: Update Read more  on its decision to charge a 30% commission, of course, pushing the implementation of the policy in India until April 2022. 

But the damage was already done, spawning a coalition of nearly 150 startups 150 startups Inc42 Indian Founders To Form Association Against Google Read more , a faction of which made a beeline beeline LiveMint Startups to move CCI against Google Read more for the Competition Commission of India Competition Commission of India Competition Commission of India The CCI is India's antitrust regulator, established to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.