Google has launched a pilot program that will expand the range of Payment methods supported by Play Store, the official market for Android applications.
As explained in the supporting documents (opens in a new tab)the trial will allow Android developers in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Indonesia, India and Japan to implement billing systems not owned or operated by Google.
The pilot will cover in-app purchases and subscription sign-ups, as well as Navigator contextual payments, but for some undisclosed reason, will not extend to mobile game apps at this time.
Google Play Store Committee
The new Play Store trial can be seen as a product of recent pressure on Google and Apple, which have a stranglehold on the mobile app ecosystem, from stakeholders and regulators calling for reform.
Unfortunately, Apple is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Epic Games, the maker of the popular Fortnite video game. The company attempted to circumvent the 30% commission in the summer of 2020 by launching its own in-app payment mechanism, which saw Fortnite quickly removed from the App Store. Although the judge ruled overwhelmingly in favor of Apple in the first part of the case, Epic appealed the ruling and the dispute rages on.
Legislation passed last year in the US state of Arizona aimed to prevent Google and Apple from forcing developers to exclusively use a single payment system and penalizing those who opt for an alternative system.
While the rules only protect Arizona-based developers and residents, they set a precedent that could spur similar measures in other states and countries.
The Play Store‘s trial of alternative payments could be interpreted as an attempt to get ahead of any new legislation that may prove even stricter than the voluntary concessions made under the pilot program.
While the essay downplays the extent to which Google can leverage its market position to its economic advantage, it may not entirely satisfy developers who believe the company is demanding too much of a reduction in device-related purchases. apps.
Although Google cut its commission from 30% to 15% last year, as part of the pilot, the company will continue to charge a 4% service fee for all purchases made through alternative methods. For its part, Google says its fees have never simply represented the cost of processing transactions, but reflect the broader value provided by the Android platform.
A similar argument was pursued by Apple last year as the company campaigned against new regulations in Arizona.
“The fee has been described by some special interests as a ‘payment processing fee’, like Apple just swiping a credit card. It’s terribly misleading,” said Kyle Andeer, chief compliance officer at Apple.
“Apple provides developers with enormous value – both the store to distribute their apps worldwide and the studio to build them. The commission reflects that.