Analysis The Indian government has reportedly teamed up with academia and startups to create its own mobile operating system dubbed IndOS, on behalf of the competition.

local point of sale standard business Revealed the initiative, quoting a senior government official who said: “India is one of the largest mobile markets in the world. Our goal is to create a secure Indian mobile operating system that could also create choice and competition for Android dominance.” in the Indian market.”

Since then, government sources have been silent on the plan. Probably because the plan is not very detailed or serious, as the Indian government surely understands two important things about the OS market.

One is that no recent attempt to create a new private or public operating system has been successful. Even Microsoft’s awesome Windows Phone died, despite Redmond pouring literally billions of dollars behind the operating system and buying Nokia to ensure the supply of phones. Mozilla’s Firefox operating system flopped. Samsung’s Tizen has been relegated to smartwatches and TVs.

China’s attempts to grow its own desktop Linux have stalled, in part because users keep buying Windows because it runs the software they want.

Indian flag with digital look

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Huawei built its own HarmonyOS out of necessity. It uses a lot of Android code and can run Android apps, because that’s what the market wants. There is little evidence of developer enthusiasm for native HarmonyOS apps.

Which brings me to the second reason why India knows that its local operating system will have very poor prospects: developers and device manufacturers won’t care. They got tired of the diversity of operating systems decades ago.

People who create widgets and write apps to run on them won’t bother championing a new operating system unless they get paid to do so. Even then, both groups will ensure that minimal efforts are required to execute or accommodate the new creation.

India also has no leverage over device makers, which it is trying to lure to its shores. The promise is that an investment in local customers will lead to the creation of facilities capable of serving customers abroad as well. The nation is betting that its plan will appeal to manufacturers who learned a hard lesson in risk management when they put all their eggs in the basket in China.

The government could insist that these manufacturers pre-install their operating system on some devices, and they would be quick to reply that many other nations are happy to host new electronics factories.

Having invested a great deal of political capital, and a few billion dollars, creating the beginnings of a world-class manufacturing ecosystem, India cannot force manufacturers to help it fight Big’s monopolies. Tech.

He must do it himself, and he is not afraid to do it. The nation has embroiled Google in multiple antitrust actions, tiptoeed Facebook and Twitter through onerous content moderation regulations, forced the clouds to scrutinize firewall logs for signs of trivial attacks, and defied hackers. e-commerce giants with a national e-commerce. scheme.

But Big Tech keeps pulling back. The Asia Internet Coalition, Big Tech’s regional lobby group, recently launched a strongly worded letter [PDF] arguing that India’s planned Digital Personal Data Protection Bill and Competition Amendment Bill would harm the country’s stated goal of improving the adoption and prevalence of digital technology. Google is fighting hard against antitrust lawsuits, in court and in the court of public opinion.


Maybe India really is working on a national operating system.

It has an excellent track record in creating digital public goods, especially the widely used Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The country’s enthusiasm for local technology would make it popular as a concept and possibly spark a backlash from Big Tech.

But if India is serious, Big Tech would fight back. That could mean less money flowing for things like tech training and local cloud data centers, or fewer photo ops for Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside expatriate Indian tech CEOs.

It could also mean less cooperation on initiatives like preloading of indian government apps on android – an initiative undertaken because India recognizes that the delivery of government digital services needs Android and its extensive ecosystem.

So letting news of a local operating system leak through may be a feint. If it’s more than that, history suggests Big Tech has little to fear from IndOS, and India has a lot to lose. ®

By sbavh

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