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Google Tells Netflix and Spotify They Can No Longer Bypass Play Store In-app Fees

(Image credit: Google)

Google has informed makers of apps residing in its Google Play Store that they’ll no longer be able to circumvent its payment system in order to avoid the 30% revenue-sharing policy on in-app purchases. 

In a blog posted Monday by Sameer Samat, VP of product management for Google, the technology giant said it is giving app makers one year, to September 30, 2021, to comply. 

Currently, Netflix, Spotify and a number of other streaming companies re-direct aspiring users who download their app from Google Play to actually sign up for their service directly from their respective websites. 

“We’ve always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods, and pay a service fee from a percentage of the purchase,” Samat wrote. “To be clear, this policy is only applicable to less than 3% of developers with apps on Google Play. We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair. Not only does this approach allow us to continuously reinvest in the platform, this business model aligns our success directly with the success of developers.”

Also read: Apple Gets United Coalition Pushback on $15 Billion App Store Biz

Google’s pushback comes as entertainment companies push back on revenue-sharing policies in app stores. Last month, Epic Games sued both Apple and Google, claiming their respective in-app purchase policies violate anti-trust laws. 

Last week, Epic, Spotify and a number of other digital brands announced a new non-profit group intended to further advance this resistance, the Coalition of App Store Fairness. 

Providing a statement to the New York Times, Sarah Maxwell, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for App Fairness, said the group looks forward to “engaging with Google” to ensure that any changes fit with its principles and are “in the best interest of app developers.”