Google starts third-party billing in play store with Spotify and Bumble’s users as the chosen ones for the pilot testing.
It hasn’t been a secret that Google and Apple have long been restricting their App developers to use only their own payment gateways for any purchases on Play Store as well as in-app purchases. While this has brought in a lot of revenue to both of them, so has it brought in lot many penalties across many country’s competition watchdogs blaming them of misusing their dominant position in the market and direct terms on the developers going against healthy competition. The latest one of such penalties coming from the Competition Commission of India imposing a fine of $113.60 million on Google for such practices.
Google announced the policy change, called User Choice Billing, in March. They call it a “pilot,” and expanded the test to the U.S., Brazil, and South Africa on Thursday in addition to previous regions including Australia, India, and Europe.
As per the User Choice Billing, Google is basically allowing end users to choose if they want to be billed directly inside the app, without the app owners being charged the, close to 30%, cut by the Play Store, or they want to continue to be billed via the Play Store, where the current commissions remain as they were. So while it is a welcome move by Google to give both, the app owners as well as app users, a choice, they still make it mandatory that the choice should remain and that Google Play Store billing is not going anywhere.
Google said the pilot is available to non-gaming apps that comply with its user interface guidelines about how to implement the billing. Also, Google will continue to charge developers the service fees. Developers must pay Google the applicable service fees. When a consumer chooses to use an alternative billing system, the service fee the developer pays will be reduced by 4% as it helps support their investments in Play Store and Android.