Google on Monday said it’s clarifying its policies for app makers on its Play Store marketplace, telling developers they have up to a year to get in compliance with its policies for in-app purchases.
The system, which allows Google to take a 30% cut of in-app purchases, has been criticized sharply by developers who argue it’s too high a tax for using Google’s mobile platform. Apple, which takes the same cut from developers who use its App Store for iPhones, has also faced intense scrutiny. Some companies, like Spotify and Netflix, have skirted the policy by encouraging people to use the companies’ own billing systems.
The one-year grace period, which expires Sept. 30, 2021, applies to any developers that need to make changes to bring their apps into compliance, Google said. It also applies to physical businesses affected by the pandemic or new to online platforms.
“For the next 12 months, these businesses will not need to comply with our payments policy, and we will continue to reassess the situation over the next year,” Mrinalini Loew, a group product manager for the Play store, wrote in a blog post.
Android currently allows other app stores on the platform, like the Galaxy Store for Samsung devices. But Google also said Monday it would make it easier for people to use third party app stores in the next version of Android.
The changes come as Google faces a lawsuit from Epic, the maker of the popular game Fortnite. In August, both Google and Apple kicked Fortnite off their app stores for attempting to circumvent the 30% cut the companies charge developers.in response. The Fortnite maker and Apple are meeting in court for a hearing on Monday.
Google is already in the spotlight for allegedly anticompetitive business practices. Apple has taken the brunt of criticism for its app store policies and relationship with software developers, but Google has been called out by app makers for its policies as well. Google also faces antitrust probes from the US Department of Justice, state attorneys general and a House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee. The DOJ is expected to file a lawsuit against Google as early as this week.