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Google Allows UK Developers To Use Alternate Payment Methods To Appease Watchdog

 |  April 19, 2023

Google has announced that it will allow Android developers to bypass in-app payments on its Play app store in order to address concerns raised by the British competition regulator, reported The Guardian. 

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has agreed to a deal, but it may not be favorable to independent developers who have been advocating against app store taxes. Google will still collect a service fee for eligible purchases on its platform.

The changes will result in a slight reduction of the bill for developers who manage their own payments.

Related: UK Closes Collusion Case Against Google & Meta

“Google Play has been the launchpad for millions of apps, helping developers create global businesses that support a quarter of a million jobs in the UK alone,” Google’s legal director, Oliver Bethell, said in a statement. “Today we are announcing a set of potential commitments in relation to our billing policies in the UK to resolve the CMA’s investigation.”

Previously, developers who sold digital goods using in-app purchases had to pay a 30% commission to Google. Now, if they don’t use Google’s payment services, they still have to pay a 27% commission to Google and their own payment processor’s fee, which is usually around 3%. If they offer both options, they receive a one percentage point discount.

In a statement, the CMA’s senior director of antitrust, Ann Pope, cautiously welcomed the commitment. “Google’s complete control over in-app payments raised concerns this unfairly restricted app developers – by forcing them to use Google Play’s billing system – putting distance between them and their customers and reducing competition, to the detriment of Google Play users,” she said.

“While we’re pleased our investigation has resulted in Google offering to give in-app payment freedom to thousands of app developers, we need to make sure these commitments will work in practice – so we welcome all feedback, which we will carefully consider before making a final decision.”