"This policy is only applicable to less than 3% of developers with apps on Google Play."
Google Play Store: Tech giant Google on Tuesday said that apps which sell digital content via its Play Store will have to use the Google Play billing system. Apart from that, they will also have to pay a percentage of the in-app purchases as a fee to Google. The clarification comes amid a controversy after Google blocked Paytm from its Play Store for a few hours. The company said that the policy on Play billing regarding the purchase of digital goods has been in place for a long time, it felt that there was a need to clarify it.
The company held a virtual briefing, during which Purnima Kochikar, Google Director Business Development, Games and Application, said that recent incidents had shown Google that it was very important to clarify and apply these policies equitably and equally. This translated to the fact that the developers would only have to use Google Play billing system to sell their digital products. The Google Play billing system charges developers 30% of the in-app purchases, and the developers would have to comply with the policy by September 2021.
Hence, all apps offering in-app purchases, like unlocking of additional features or buying tokens, would have to use the billing system put in place by Google.
On the other hand, availing physical goods, like ride-hailing services, or purchasing content subscription on the developer’s website would not use Play billing.
Companies already having an app on the Google Play Store, and only requiring technical work to accommodate the Play billing system with the app would get time till September 30 next year for making the necessary changes and releasing the updates.
During the briefing, Kochikar made it a point to say that 97% of the developers availing the services of Google Play Store seemed to understand the policy and comply with it. Kochikar did not, however, name any company or developer which did not comply.
Google and Apple have both been on the receiving end of criticism for the fees they charge from developers. While Apple does not allow any third party apps to be downloaded on its iOS devices, Android has not put any such restrictions in place. Kochikar added that developers could choose to distribute their apps through the web, in which case the Play policy would not apply to these apps. It asserted that the Android app developers had multiple ways to distribute their apps, and they were free to choose any of them.
On Android, third-party app stores are available like Samsung’s Galaxy Store and Indus App Bazaar.
Google also asserted that a service fee is only charged for those apps that can only be downloaded after being paid for, or if they sell in-app products.