Both Apple and Google have dealt with multiple antitrust cases across the European Union and the United States in recent times, with both companies facing a flurry of fines. Now Google is taking a step towards compliance with the recently passed Digital Markets Act, as developers in the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to avail of alternative payment systems outside of Google Play. There’s a catch though, as those developers will be subject to a 12% fee on the first $1 million of their revenue for a year, down from 15%.
“As of today, Google will not remove, or reject updates of, non-gaming apps from participating developers for offering alternative billing systems for EEA users,” the company wrote in its announcement. “Google Play’s billing system will continue to be required for apps and games distributed via Play to users outside the EEA, and for games distributed to users within the EEA. We expect to expand billing alternatives to developers of gaming apps for their users in the EEA, in advance of the DMA’s effective date.”
What this means is that for developers in the EEA (which includes the European Union and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) who distribute their apps in that region, they can use their own billing system instead of Google Play’s. Google warns that developers who choose to use their own in-app purchasing system must ensure the system meets appropriate user protection requirements and comply with PCI-DSS. There must also be a customer support system in place for those users. The fee that Google collects will be used to “invest in Android and Play for the benefit of the entire ecosystem,” according to the company.
For developers who earn over $1 million in revenue a year, the fee will be dropped from 27% to 30% when using their own billing services. The Digital Markets Act won’t take effect for quite a while, but the company is gearing up to be in compliance as soon as it’s enacted. This also means that developers can prepare for what’s to come and transition over to new payment platforms if they choose to do so.
Google also states that the app must only be available within the EEA, and that the alternative billing system must be used in the app only. This means that for developers who may primarily make money from EEA regions but still make their app available in the U.S. as an example, they will still only be able to use Google Play’s billing services.
If developers want to get involved in the program, they can read Google’s help article to learn more.
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