Google demands app developers start using its billing system next year

midian182

Posts: 6,068   +50
Staff member
A hot potato: Apple is receiving plenty of flak from developers over the 30 percent cut it takes from in-app purchases, something that led to the current legal battle with Epic Games. Now, the situation has prompted Google to clamp down on those who circumvent its own store tax.

Google says that it has always required developers who distribute their apps on the Play Store to use its billing system if they offer in-app purchases and pay a 30 percent fee from the payments. But some developers, including Netflix and Spotify, prompt customers to pay directly using a credit card, thereby avoiding Google’s tax.

Google says less than 3 percent of the apps on its store offered in-app purchases over the last 12 months, and 97 percent of them use Google Play billing. The tech giant is giving new apps until January 20, 2021 to implement its billing system, while existing apps have until September 30, 2021 to comply.

Unlike Apple, Google has been lax with its in-app payment rules, but that started to change when Epic added a direct payment system to Fortnite Mobile, resulting in the battle royale title being booted from the Play Store.

Google cites Fortnite as being an example of Android’s openness—the game can still be downloaded from Epic’s store or other app stores, such as Samsung’s Galaxy App store. Next year’s Android 12 release will make it easier for people to use other app stores without compromising their device security.

“We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair,” wrote Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management at Google. “Not only does this approach allow us to continuously reinvest in the platform, but this business model also aligns our success directly with the success of developers.”

Last week saw the formation of The Coalition for App Fairness, a group of developers that include Spotify and Epic who are fighting for the removal of app stores’ 30 percent fees. Its page is mostly aimed at Apple, but Google’s clampdown will doubtlessly put it under the spotlight.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,483   +5,989
Anti-trust investigations are open to all sorts of irregularities and this could be painted as a simple case of extortion by any smart young lawyer ..... With all the Tech companies / services under investigation for business practices, this would appear to be spitting in the face of the regulators.
 

redhat

Posts: 112   +107
The fees are fair not doubt about it, but 30%??? come on, the company itself may not collect that much after paying taxes and employees wages.
 

SirDigby

Posts: 630   +276
TechSpot Elite
30% is too high for the minimal amount of work google do on a per app basis.
If I'm a company that designs, builds and continually supports a whole app, why is another company, that just hosts, and does a little bit of support re: copycat, reviews and integration like Google Play Games (which no one actually uses). 12-15% is more like it.
Jog on google.

On the other hand, I really like when I can pay for things using Google Pay online, rather than having to type out my card details again, or saving them with another company.
 
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Cubi Dorf

Posts: 245   +121
I am not having problem with 30% if developer is allow to freely distribute app outside of app store. If user want to pay more to gain any app store security or convenience then app store should be allow to set their own price. If developer allow to self distribute app then there is free market that can decide if app store is worth it. It should be user choice if they find app store worth extra monies. Using app store should not needing to be a requirement to get software. User should be able to download directly from web site like in desktop operating system. Mobile operating system have everyone fool to think they are special, but they are not.
 

ColdSoup

Posts: 88   +179
I get the fact that they need money to support the platform, but the 30% does seem high.
YouTube takes an even higher cut for most people on the platform and nobody seems to mind. For the Play Store I would say the cut is arguably a lot less important because you can simply just not use it. You can distribute APKs from your own website or another app store.
 
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stewi0001

Posts: 2,437   +1,940
TechSpot Elite
YouTube takes an even higher cut for most people on the platform and nobody seems to mind. For the Play Store I would say the cut is arguably a lot less important because you can simply just not use it. You can distribute APKs from your own website or another app store.
I get what you're saying but I don't think YouTube is a good comparison since it is a video hosting sight, where as Play and App Store are primarily distributors for Apps. Honestly, I would have to do more research into the whole rate matter to figure out if it is fair or not. One thing I do know is that F2P mobile games that I have played recently have ridiculously priced micro-transactions.
 

jpuroila

Posts: 233   +125
YouTube takes an even higher cut for most people on the platform and nobody seems to mind. For the Play Store I would say the cut is arguably a lot less important because you can simply just not use it. You can distribute APKs from your own website or another app store.
Not really comparable because for serving video the infrastructure costs are obviously orders of magnitude higher.