The fight between Apple and Epic Games over Fortnite and app stores is getting uglier by the day. The latter has recently formed a coalition of other developers slighted by Apple’s App Store policy, calling for fairness in the app ecosystem. That coalition pretty much singles out Apple in its statements and curiously makes no mention of Google. That, however, could be changing soon if it is really moving to enforce a policy that will give it more cuts from sales made within its Google Play Store.
Like Apple, Google takes a 30% cut from any purchase made using its Google Play Store billing system. Unlike Apple, however, it isn’t so strict about enforcing it and allows developers to opt out and use their own billing services. In fact, it even allows these apps to point to external web pages to subscribe to a service, a big no-no for Apple’s App Store.
Sources talking to Bloomberg have revealed that Google will no longer be so lenient and will update its Play Store policies to push developers to use only its Google Play billing system. This will apply to any purchase base on the Play Store itself as well as in-app, excluding physical goods. If implemented, Google will be taking more 30% cuts from such purchases.
It will undoubtedly also face the same criticism hurled against Apple but Google may have at least one legal way out. Critics won’t be able to claim that Google employs a monopoly, even if Google Play Store is the de facto app marketplace for Android. There have always been other sources for apps but if those want to be on the Play Store, they will have to agree to use Google’s billing system and, consequently, pay its 30% tax.
Those same sources say that Google won’t immediately be kicking out the major apps after promulgating its new edict. It will allow them a grace period to update their apps which could also allow them to move out of Google Play Store altogether. Whether Google will actually pull such a move in the middle of the Epic Apple battle is, however, still unconfirmed.