Google Play Store Looking to Stop Third-Party Apps From Avoiding Revenue-Sharing

The days of free co-existence among tech platforms and third-party media apps is coming to an end. Google is telling apps holders on its Google Play Store it would no longer allow them to direct subscribers to their own websites to avoid paying a 30% revenue-sharing agreement for in-app purchases.

Writing in a Sept. 28 blog post, Sameer Samat, VP of product management for Google, said Google Play’s billing system provides an efficient means for Android users to transact using their local, preferred method of payment. He said the platform (specifically Google Play Store) has become a trusted source for the safe, secure and seamless interaction with third-party apps, including Netflix and Spotify.

While only 3% of Google Play Store apps involve fiscal transactions, Samat said some apps automatically re-direct users to their websites rather that going through Google’s paywall — a move that avoids the app holder from paying Google any share in revenue.

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“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,” he wrote. “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.”

Google is giving app developers until Sept. 30, 2021, to integrate their billing with the Android platform.

“We will require Google’s apps that do not already use Google Play’s billing system to make the necessary updates as well,” Samat wrote.