Google should be concerned about Epic’s injunction against Apple


The Apple vs. Epic drama is probably not over yet, but the courts have come to a conclusion. While this is far from the victory Epic hoped for, the court issued an injunction against Apple that should at least allow developers to steer customers to non-Apple payment options. That’s a bit of good news for iOS developers, but it leaves us in the Android field: how could this affect Google Play Store billing app changes, which are expected to take effect at the end of this month. this month ?

At the outset, I would like to emphasize that the injunction is not against Google, so the immediate the impact here is zero, but there could be very significant fallout if this is taken as a precedent. If so, nothing is preventing Epic or any other company from pursuing their own action against Google itself for its planned changes.

In case you forgot (which would be understandable), Google actually has the same rules as Apple when it comes to in-app billing, the difference is that it hasn’t aggressively enforced them. , but he plans to start doing it. at the end of this month. So far apps like Spotify and Amazon’s Kindle have been able to get away with essentially ignoring the rules, and that’s why you can buy books right from the Kindle app on your Android phone or tablet, but you can’t do it on your iPhone or iPad. Technically it was against Google’s rules, but the company didn’t care – at least, if you had a big enough name. Google even ran special offers to particularly large companies that were willing to use its built-in billing rather than theirs.

Google’s Play Store billing policies, which are expected to be enforced more aggressively on September 30.

Ultimately, however, Google Is plan to start enforcing these rules on September 30, 2021. While there are still a handful of exceptions, such as for physical goods and services or utility bills, Google’s policies are clear this all other apps that charge for features, digital content, or non-physical goods will need to use Google Play’s billing system, and those apps “cannot lead users to a payment method other than Google’s billing system. Play ”, with examples making it abundantly clear the developers cannot add an extra button to make a payment in a different way alongside the approved system.

However, Google’s policies would violate the current injunction against Apple if applied against Google.

Now I’m not a lawyer, but some of the people who run The Verge are, and site analysis of the injunction is pretty clear: “In short, iOS apps should be allowed to direct users to payment options beyond those offered by Apple.” Contextually, this wasn’t the victory Epic was looking for, but it’s a small step that would allow iOS developers to include alternative billing systems alongside Apple and which could mean apps like Spotify or Kindle could bring back separate billing systems, giving developers on iOS a head start on the changes that are about to land on the Play Store at the end of this month.

We have reached out to Google regarding the upcoming change and whether it is considering adjusting those plans in light of the injunction to be imposed on Apple. Google did not immediately respond to the comment.

It’s important to note that the injunction against Apple is due to go into effect on December 9, which gives Apple a little time to appeal (it sure will) and Google a little time to think about what. ‘he intends to do if the injunction is upheld. But I’d bet Google will eventually have to tweak its plans to accommodate if it does, giving app makers on the bugdroid team the same perks Epic just gained for iOS developers.

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