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Google to offer app store payment options after antitrust probe

Google to offer app store payment options after antitrust probe

Google has moved to placate UK regulators by offering app developers the freedom to break away from Google Play’s billing system and use alternatives to process in-app payments.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now consulting on the commitments but says it is intending to accept them.

Last year, the watchdog concluded a market study into ‘mobile ecosystems’ and concerns raised that Google’s control over payment processing in Google Play is potentially leading to higher prices and reduced choice for Android users.

A new investigation was launched into these in-app payment rules which has prompted Google's offer.

Ann Pope, senior director, antitrust, CMA, says: "While we’re pleased our investigation has resulted in Google offering to give in-app payment freedom to thousands of app developers, we need to make sure these commitments will work in practice - so we welcome all feedback, which we will carefully consider before making a final decision."

In a blog, Google's director of legal, Oliver Bethell, says: "We appreciate the CMA’s thoughtful approach and the constructive dialogue we’ve had throughout this process. As always, we’ll continue to listen to feedback and continue to invest to help developers thrive on Google Play."

Bethell notes that the plan builds on the firm's experience of offering users a choice of billing systems in the European Economic Area and other parts of the world, where it has faced similar antitrust actions.

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