Google to extend third party billing to developers in India, other nations
In one of its biggest announcements that will impact thousands of app developers in India, Google announced that Google Play is extending its third-party billing pilot programme to India and four other countries–Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and the European Economic Area.
Earlier this year, Google Play had announced additional billing options in South Korea and had started a pilot with Spotify, the company had then stated that it will run a small pilot in other countries too.
What this basically means is that non-gaming developers in India can now have the option of providing third party billing systems to users. Developers in India have been demanding that Google Play should allow third party billing options for a long.
In a statement, Google a spokesperson said, “Android has always been a uniquely open operating system, and we continue to evolve our platform and increase the choices available to developers and users, while maintaining our ability to invest in the ecosystem. With this next phase of Google Play’s user choice billing pilot, all non-gaming developers can offer an additional billing choice alongside Play’s billing system for their users in Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, and the European Economic Area. We will be sharing more in the coming months as we continue to build and iterate with our pilot partners.”
Starting today, all non-gaming developers globally can sign up to participate in the pilot and offer this choice to their mobile and tablet users in these markets. Of course, users will continue to have the choice to use Play’s billing system. Reasonable service fees will continue to apply in order to support our investments in Android and Play, said Google Play.
The announcement comes even as Google is facing scrutiny on its app stores payment structure by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Globally too, Google and Apple have been facing regulatory heat due to their app store practices. Rather with this move, Google claims that Google Play is the first and only major app store to pilot user choice billing. No other major app store, whether on mobile, desktop, or game consoles, has taken similar steps toward providing more payment choice and opportunities for developers, users and the entire internet ecosystem.
Over the last two years, Google Play moved away from one-size-fits-all pricing and today 99 per cent of developers qualify for a service fee of 15 per cent or less.
Google has already reduced commissions from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million of revenue developers earn using the Play billing system each year, following a similar move by Apple. The company said that due to this pricing model shift, 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% or less on its app store.