Winzo sues Google over Play Store pilot; Infy cofounder weighs in on moonlighting

Last week, Google said it would soon launch a pilot in which daily fantasy sports (DFS) and rummy games could be listed on its Play Store in India for the first time. Now, vernacular social gaming platform WinZo has filed a case against Google in the Delhi High Court, arguing the pilot unfairly favours these two categories of games and wrongfully interferes with its business.

Credit: Giphy

Also in this letter:
■ Work for one firm to build employer’s trust, says Infosys cofounder
■ Fintech industry must work relentlessly on safety to uphold people’s trust: PM
■ Food-delivery worker arrested in Pune for allegedly molesting student

WinZo seeks injunction against Google’s Play Store pilot

Social gaming platform WinZo is taking Google to court

WinZo, a regional language social gaming platform, has sought an injunction against Google’s decision to allow daily fantasy sports (DFS) and rummy games in a pilot project on its Play Store.

Why? The policy is unfair and restrictive as it excludes a large sector of real-money games that have been classified as games of skill, Saumya Singh Rathore, cofounder of WinZo, told us. Real-money games are ones that charge an entry fee from players, unlike casual games, which primarily depend on advertising revenue.

Driving the news: In a lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court on Monday, WinZo said it had contacted Google on September 10 to contest the updated policy, saying it was “unfair”.

Also Read | CCI probe finds Google’s Play Store billing guidelines ‘unfair’ and ‘discriminatory’

The lawsuit sought “restraint from Google from implementing the arbitrary classification which will impact the reputation of WinZo’s business”. The matter has been listed for hearing on Wednesday.

“The selective inclusion of games which have been challenged in court (as games of skill) will put the other players in a detrimental position and distort the market,” Rathore said. “This effectively sends out a message that all other real-money games are not legal, even though they are constitutionally protected by the Supreme Court as games of skill,” Rathore added. These include games like chess, carrom and 8-ball pool, among others.

Google did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Google vs gaming firms: For years, Google allowed no games involving real money in India, but this month it said such games for fantasy sports and rummy could join its Play Store in the country as part of a year-long pilot that starts on September 28.

App stores by Apple, Mi and Samsung, among others, list these games.

Google said in a policy update that those two categories comprised games in which contestants used their knowledge of athletic events and athletes or memorised the fall of playing cards. It did not mention other game formats and their treatment.

The tech giant should have an inclusive approach towards adding all the other games of skill under the pilot project, Roland Landers, CEO of the All India Gaming Federation (AGIF), had said when Google announced the pilot.

Work for one firm to build employer’s trust, says Infosys cofounder

Infosys co founder S (Kris) Gopalakrishnan

Employees should work for one organisation only to gain their employer’s trust and fully commit to the task assigned, said Infosys cofounder Kris Gopalakrishnan, weighing in on the ongoing controversy over ‘moonlighting’, or dual employment.

In his words: “If you want to give 100% to the task you have in hand, you need to be fully committed. You should be working for one organisation if you want to build trust and not help two-three (for-profit) organisations simultaneously,” he said on the sidelines of Global Fintech Fest in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Employees could, however, work for a charity or a cause along with their regular job, he added on the much-debated “moonlighting” issue.

Controversy: Moonlighting – the practice of taking up more than one job at a time – has drawn mixed responses from IT companies. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, IBM and Wipro have said they are against it, while Tech Mahindra has signalled broad acceptance of the trend.

Last week, Infosys reminded employees in an email titled ‘No Double Lives’ that moonlighting violated its code of conduct and that employees could be sacked for doing so.

Also Read | To moonlight a blight or alright? Startups split on their opinions

Growing trend: Though not a new phenomenon, IT employees have started moonlighting in greater numbers since working from home became mainstream during the pandemic.

Over the past 12 months, about three to four of every 100 full-time employees have been working on parallel assignments, according to IT talent consulting and intelligence firm Han Digital.

In a survey of 400 people across the IT and IT-enabled services space by brokerage firm Kotak Institutional Equities, 65% of respondents said they knew of people pursuing part-time opportunities while working from home for another company.

Tweet of the day

Fintech industry must work relentlessly on safety to uphold people’s trust: PM


Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India’s fintech industry has earned goodwill by being an enabler of inclusion, and there is a need for continued focus to empower the poorest of the poor by taking quality financial services to them. He added the sector needs to work relentlessly on safety and reliability to uphold people’s trust.

In his message at the Global Fintech Fest, Modi said the sector has shown what can be achieved when a government that encourages innovation comes together with the energy of young and inventive minds.

In his words: “Innovation for inclusion has been our mantra, leading to the revolution in public delivery ensured by the JAM Trinity, success of UPI in making digital payments a way of life, and India’s global rise in the fintech and startup space as a hub of innovation and investment,” Modi said in the message, which was read out by Kris Gopalakrishnan. JAM Trinity refers to Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile.

“People involved in the fintech domain know well that constant innovation is the name of the game. Rapid, relentless and proactive work in ensuring security, safety and reliability is important to uphold the enormous trust that the people have placed,” he added.

Food-delivery worker arrested in Pune for allegedly molesting student

food delivery

The Pune police have arrested a 40-year-old food-delivery worker for allegedly molesting a 19-year-old woman student in Pune, an official said on Tuesday.

The alleged incident took place on September 17 in Kondhwa after the engineering student ordered food from a restaurant through an online food delivery app, the official added.

“After delivering the parcel to the woman at around 9 pm on Saturday, the accused – Raees Shaikh – asked for water to drink. He struck up a conversation with the woman,” an official from Kondhwa police station said.

“[He] then asked for another glass of water and when the woman gave it to him, he allegedly held her hand and molested her,” the official said.

“When the woman raised an alarm, the accused tried to run away but some people from the housing society caught him and handed him over to the police,” he added. The woman subsequently lodged a police complaint.

Charges: The accused was arrested and booked under sections 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) and 354-A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code, the official said. He was later released on bail.

Byju’s cofounder calls media reports on FY21 financials ‘misleading’

divya gokulnath

Byju’s cofounder Divya Gokulnath said on Tuesday that coverage of the edtech major’s financial results for FY21 were sensationalised to focus only on the company’s losses. The company released its audited financials last week after an 18-month delay.

Driving the news: In a post on LinkedIn, Gokulnath compared Byju’s results with the release of the Bollywood movie Brahmastra.

“I am sure you would have ‘seen’ our results. But have you seen the complete picture? Because just like for movie reviews, sensationalism results in more clicks than truth in this age of 280-character reading attention spans,” Gokulnath wrote.

Gokulnath said she never had any problems with stories written about Byju’s, but she did have an issue with headlines about the company’s FY21 results. She went on to list five different headlines and a point-by-point rebuttal of what they should have been.

Catch up quick: We were the first to report last week that Byju’s revenue from operations for FY21 was readjusted to Rs 2,280 crore even as the company incurred massive losses of Rs 4,588 crore, up from just Rs 262 crore in FY20.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Gaurab Dasgupta in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.

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