The developers will nevertheless have to continue to pay a commission to Google, which will be very slightly reduced.
At first glance, Google appears to be making a major concession. The American group announced on Tuesday that it would now allow developers who distribute their applications on Google Play in Europe to use payment systems other than its own. “The recent adoption of the Digital Market Act will force Google and its competitors to review their models in Europe. We are committed to complying with these new requirements“, explains the group in a press release.
The Digital Market Act, which will come into effect in 2024, draws up a list of anti-competitive behavior prohibited for dominant tech players. Among these is the current requirement for app developers to use Apple’s and Google’s payment systems, which levy large fees on all transactions. This situation aroused the anger of major digital players, such as Epic Games or Spotify, and led to the creation of the Coalition for App Fairness lobby.
Barely reduced commissions
But the devil is in the details. First of all, mobile games, the most lucrative applications in the sector, are not affected by this initiative. At least initially. Above all, developers who choose not to go through Google’s payment system will still have to pay it a commission!
“Commissions will apply to support our investments in Google Play and Android. They will be reduced by three points“, explains the group. Concretely, the commission of 15% increases to 12%, and that of 30% to 27%. If we add the fees levied by alternative payment systems, the bill may therefore be heavier for developers who choose to emancipate themselves from Google.
“Kudos to Google, which quickly followed Apple’s lead to introduce open fake invoicing in Europe.», exclaimed on Twitter Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, which has taken legal action against the two American giants on this specific issue. “Google “allows” competing payment systems but eliminates their ability to compete. (…) Google has a long history of bogus open initiatives, starting with Android “allowing” competing app stores only to hamper them.»
As Tim Sweeney notes, Google is following in the footsteps of Apple, which has made similar proposals in the Netherlands and South Korea. Developers who don’t go through its payment system will have to file a monthly sales report and then receive an invoice within 45 days. The applied rate will be 26% in Korea.
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