Google Play Prepares for Digital Markets Act by Allowing Alternative Billing Systems

Google Play, EEA, billing, DMA

Google has commented on the passing of the Digital Markets Act, which will require Google Play and other industry players to adjust their current operating model for users in the European Economic Area (EEA).

In a blog post Tuesday (July 19), the company said: “We are committed to meeting these new requirements while ensuring that we can continue to keep people safe on our platforms and invest in Android and Play for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.”

Google added that as part of our efforts to comply with these new rules, it was announcing a new program to support billing alternatives for EEA users. This will mean developers of non-gaming apps can offer their users in the EEA an alternative to Google Play’s billing system when they are paying for digital content and services.

Developers who choose to use an alternative billing system will need to meet appropriate user protection requirements, and service fees and conditions will continue to apply.

When a consumer uses an alternative billing system, the service fee the developer pays will be reduced by 3%. Since 99% of developers currently qualify for a service fee of 15% or less, those developers would pay a service fee of 12% or lower based on transactions through alternative billing for EEA users.

As of Tuesday, Google will not remove, or reject updates of, non-gaming apps from participating developers for offering alternative billing systems for EEA users. However, it will continue to insist that the Google Play billing system is used for apps and games distributed via Play to users outside the EEA, and for games distributed to users within the EEA.

Although the DMA does not take effect for some time, Google said it is taking the action now so that it has time to work with its developer partners and ensure its compliance plans serve the needs of the broader ecosystem.

Google said “developers interested in learning more about the program and signing up can visit our Help Center, which we will continue to update with more details in the coming weeks.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, in June, Google announced an agreement with a group of U.S. developers to avoid costly and lengthy litigation about terms and conditions of the Google Play Store, including the fees charged.

Read more: Google Opens up Google Play Store Ahead of Potential Legislation

Alongside a number of commitments on changes to its terms and conditions for apps and games listed on Google Play, the proposed settlement — which still has to be approved by a court — will establish a $90 million fund to support U.S. developers who earned $2 million or less through Google Play during each year from 2016 to 2021.

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