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Google Delays IAP Requirement After Antitrust Suit

Posted July 17, 2021 | Android | Antitrust | Dev | Google | Windows

What a difference an antitrust lawsuit makes. Google on Friday said it would delay the implementation of Play Store requirements for developers that would require them to use its in-app payments (IAP) system, similar to what Apple requires on its own App Store.

The timing is interesting. On July 7, 37 attorneys general, representing 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, sued Google for antitrust abuses related to the Google Play Store. Google’s response to this suite was both sad and humorous, and it contains outright lies and largely irrelevant counterpoints. But it’s pretty clear that Google is taking this suit—and other similar lawsuits—seriously.

“Last September, we clarified our Payments Policy to be more explicit about when developers should use Google Play’s billing system,” Google explains, referring to the in-app payments (IAP) system in Google Play, which requires developers to use its payment system. “While most developers already complied with this policy, we understood that some existing apps currently using an alternative billing system may need to make changes to their apps, and we gave one year for them to make these updates.”

Google cites the impact of the “global pandemic” as a key reason for backing off from the previously announced date at which developers will finally be forced to use only its IAP system. But it’s pretty clear that antitrust uncertainty played a stronger role, just when Apple suddenly switched its 30 percent vig system down to 15 percent last summer—also while under the threat of antitrust action—and then Google quickly followed suit.

Developers who would like a deadline extension will need to petition Google.

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