On Tuesday, Congress revealed whether it thinks Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are sitting on monopolies. In some cases, the answer was yes.
But also, one app developer revealed to Congress that it — just like WordPress — had been forced to monetize a largely free app. That developer testified that Apple had demanded in-app purchases (IAP), even though Apple had approved its app without them two years earlier — and that when the dev dared send an email to customers notifying them of the change, Apple threatened to remove the app and blocked all updates.
That developer was ProtonMail, makers of an encrypted email app, and CEO Andy Yen had some fiery words for Apple in an interview with The Verge this week.
We’ve known for months that WordPress and Hey weren’t alone in being strong-armed by the most valuable company in the world, ever since Stratechery’s Ben Thompson reported that 21 different app developers quietly told him they’d been pushed to retroactively add IAP in the wake of those two controversies. But until now, we hadn’t heard of many devs willing to publicly admit it. They were scared.
And they’re still scared, says Yen. Even though Apple changed its rules on September 11th to exempt “free apps acting as a stand-alone companion to a paid web based tool” from the IAP requirement — Apple explicitly said email apps are exempt — ProtonMail still hasn’t removed its own in-app purchases because it fears retaliation from Apple, he says.
He claims other developers feel the same way: “There’s a lot of fear in the space right now; people are completely petrified to say anything.”
He might know. ProtonMail is one of the founding partners of the Coalition for
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google has extended its deadline for Indian app developers to comply with a new billing system by six months to March 31, 2022, the U.S. tech giant said in a blog post on Monday.
Google also said https://india.googleblog.com/2020/10/google-plays-billing-system-update.html it was setting up “listening sessions” with leading startups to understand their concerns and establishing “policy workshops” to clear any additional questions after it said it will more strictly enforce a global policy and charge a 30% commission fee for in-app purchases, irking some developers.
In recent days, many startups in India have banded together to consider ways to challenge Google, including by lodging complaints with the government and courts. They are upset about the 30% commission fee and say several other Google Play Store policies hurt their businesses.
Google said the policy is not new and more than 97% of developers with apps on its app store already comply with the policy.
“To be clear, the policy only applies if a developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items,” it said.
Globally, app developers have said 30% is excessive compared with the 2% fees of typical credit card payments processors. Google and rival Apple, which charges a similar fee, have said the amount covers the security and marketing benefits their app stores provide.
(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Christopher Cushing)
- Google announced in a blog post on Monday that it’s closing a loophole which allows some developers to side-step its 30% tax on in-app payments.
- Developers will have until September 31 2021 to integrate Google’s billing system.
- Google also said it will make it easier for users to install alternative app stores to its own.
- The change may mean apps such as Netflix, Spotify, and Tinder which have avoided the 30% fee put up their prices on the Play Store.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google said it will clamp down on a loophole that allows big developers like Netflix and Spotify avoid paying 30% commission on in-app payments.
Until now, developers have been able to side-step the 30% commission that comes with using Google’s in-app payment system by getting users to enter their card details directly.
Google’s vice president for product management, Sameer Samat, wrote in a blog post on Monday that the company was giving “clarity” on its billing policies.
Samat wrote that “all apps selling digital goods” will have until September 30, 2021 to move to Google’s billing system.
The upshot is that apps that sell you subscriptions, digital media, or virtual items will have to shift to this system and pay Google’s 30% levy, and it may mean an accompanying rise in prices.
Business Insider has approached Spotify, Netflix, and Tinder for comment.
Samat wrote that Google’s own apps will also be subject to the commission, and that the changes would only impact less than 3% of developers.
This announcement from Google comes after a drawn-out fight between Apple and developers on a similar mandatory commission on the App Store.
This resulted in major developers including Spotify, Epic Games, and Match Group forming an alliance called the “Coalition for App Fairness” on Thursday. It