Google Demands Its 30% Cut From App Developers in Play Store

OAKLAND, Calif. — Google said it would no longer allow some apps to circumvent its payment system within the Google Play store that provides the company a cut of in-app purchases.

Google said in a blog post on Monday that it was providing “clarity” on billing policies because there was confusion among some developers about what types of transactions require use of its app store’s billing system.

Google has had a policy of taking a 30 percent cut of payments made within apps offered by the Google Play store, but some developers including Netflix and Spotify have bypassed the requirement by prompting users for a credit card to pay them directly. Google said companies had until Sept. 30, 2021, to integrate its billing systems.

The fees collected by Google and Apple’s app stores has become an especially contentious issue in recent months after Epic Games, maker of the popular game Fortnite, sued Apple and Google, claiming they violated antitrust rules with the commissions they charge.

Developers have bristled at the 30 percent cut demanded by Google and Apple, saying it is an inflated digital tax that hobbles their ability to compete. And because the two companies control almost all of the world’s smartphones, many developers gripe that they have no option but to adhere to their policies and pay the commissions.

Google has argued that it allows other companies to operate app stores within its Android software. On Monday, the company said it would make changes in next year’s version of Android to make it easier to use other app stores on its devices without compromising safety.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.