Android Developers Have One Year to Switch to Google Billing

Android Developers Have One Year to Switch to Google Billing

Talking about third-party app stores, Google says that Android 12 will make it "even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices".

Cybersecurity researchers from Zscaler recently discovered 17 shady apps containing the "Joker" malware on the Google Play Store. That means that services like Spotify have been able to utilise Google Play for distribution but not actually pay any revenue to Google for the use of the store.

However, Google Play Store's native billing system won't be compulsory for apps where in-app purchases are made to buy physical goods, pay for services (food, transport, tickets), memberships (gym, loyalty programs, clothing, etc.), bill payments and peer-to-peer payments. "We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play's billing system". But starting September 30, 2021, the company will crack down on apps that do not comply - and that will include popular apps such as Netflix and Spotify which now allow users to sign up for subscriptions within the app by using a credit card rather than Google Play billing.

Google will also give some businesses impacted by the pandemic the ability to opt-out of its payment policies for the next 12 months. Those deals were the subject of major fines in Europe, for violating antitrust law, and are now under the microscope in the U.S.

Google dances around the topic, but it appears Google still forbids developers from letting users know about Google's "service fee" tax in the app, but Google says developers are free to let buyers know of alternate purchase opportunities via email promotions or their website. But the Play party is apparently coming to an end, as the New York Times reports that Google is cracking down on enforcing their 30% cut, by essentially tightening the rules on its Android 12 software coming out next year.

The policy updates indicate how Google is responding to the increased regulatory scrutiny of its Android mobile platform and how it operates its app store, Google Play.

Today, it presents the option as only as a serious security risk that users must manually enable.

That means reasonably safe alternatives to Google Play have more difficulty acquiring users.

Google stressed, too, that its policies are applied universally, even to its own apps. Each of the 17 apps used the popular "Joker" malware. "In fact, we regularly promote apps by Google's competitors in our Editors Choice picks when they provide a great user experience".

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