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India awards apps that offer citizens Microsoft and Google alternatives

And bans future imports of much military tech

India has named apps that it thinks citizens could do worse than adopt in the spirt of the nation’s self-reliance push, and the list includes competitors to software from global giants like Microsoft and Google.

The apps were named at the conclusion of an "App Innovation Challenge" that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi pitched as a means “to evolve Apps which can satisfy our market as well as compete with the world.”

The winners of that competition were announced late last week and among the anointed apps were Zoho’s Workplace, Cliq and Invoices apps, respectively a personal productivity suite, Slack-like real-time comms tool and a personal and SME finance management tool.

An app called “MapmyIndia Move: Maps, Navigation & Tracking” won the top prize category, giving Indians an alternative to Google Maps. TikTok-esque app Chingari won in the category of social apps and a fact-checking app called won the News category.

Category winners scored prizes of around US$25k to further development of their products, but merely being named as an app that a patriotic Indian should consider is probably worth considerably more.

India has also signaled that its self-sufficiency drive now includes military equipment by publishing an extensive list of items that the nation won’t import after December 2020. While the list is dominated by vehicles and weapons, it also includes software-defined radios, satellites and all manner of IT-related systems. Military IT is a big export item for firms around the world and India has therefore just told companies that offer such products that they have one fewer customer to pitch to.

Or perhaps they’ll need to adjust the way they do business to make sure more Indian workers are involved in the creation and deployment of their wares. That’s an approach similar to the one taken by Chinese handset-and-gadget-maker Xiaomi, which has promised that its smartphone OS will be scoured of apps that India has banned before a local relaunch.

The tweet below from the head of Xiaomi India outlines the plan.


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