France fines Google 220 mn euros over online ad dominance

Google cuts mobile app store fee in half amid scrutiny


San Francisco: Google said it will halve the charge for digital content tailored to Android-powered mobile devices from developers in its online store.

The commission taken at Google Play will be reduced to 15 percent from 30 percent starting in July, but just on the first $1 million of revenue taken in annually by a developer, according to post by product management vice president Sameer Samat.

The move comes amid pressure on Google and Apple to ease policies on their online marketplaces for the dominant mobile platforms. Apple announced a similar cut for small businesses last year.

“We believe this is a fair approach that aligns with Google’s broader mission to help all developers succeed,” Samat said of the smaller bite on Play store transactions, estimating that 99 percent of developers will benefit from the cut.

Apple and Google require developers to use their payment systems in their online stores for mobile applications, services and digital goods transactions, and charge 30% or less of the transaction fees.

The technology giants behind rival iOS and Android mobile operating systems believe that commissions are industry norms and fair compensation for operating trusted online stores, and developers can make money from them.

However, developers such as Fortnite maker Epic Games and streaming music service Spotify, as well as legal challengers around the world have all criticized the deal’s grit.

An Epic spokesperson responded that Google’s move failed to address the “root problem” of market dominance.

“Whether it’s 15 percent or 30 percent, for apps obtained through the Google Play Store, developers are forced to use Google’s in-app payment services. Android needs to be fully open to competition, with a genuinely level playing field,” an Epic statement said.

Apple and Google are also facing growing pushback from other tech giants over their control of apps on their platforms.

Facebook and Spotify have claimed Apple is acting in an uncompetitive way by placing rules on outside developers, which it does not apply to itself.

This dispute prompted the EU’s powerful competition authority to file a series of lawsuits against Apple in June last year, involving its App Store and Apple Pay payment services.

A few US states introduced a bill that would prohibit large application stores from using certain payment systems for transactions.

Although the App Store is the only gateway to provide digital content to Apple devices, users of Android smartphones or tablets can download apps from other services.

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