EU antitrust regulators are testing developers on Google App payments

Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters that European Union antitrust regulators have asked app developers whether Alphabet’s threat to Google to remove apps from the Play Store if they use other payment options instead of its billing system has hurt their business.

Critics say the fees Google and Apple charge for their mobile app stores are exorbitant and collectively cost developers billions of dollars annually, in a sign of the strength of the two companies’ monopoly.

People said surveys were sent out to developers last month.

Of the 16 questions in the document, some covered the period 2017-2021 and others 2019-2021. The European Commission declined to comment. Google did not respond to an email request for comment.

The US tech giant said the apps will be removed from its App Store from June this year if developers do not use its billing system.

Respondents were asked if this year’s Google policy change affected the distribution of their goods or services on the Google Play Store, which apps were affected and whether it affected their ability to gain users on Android devices, the people said.

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Regulators wanted to know if the change forced developers to abandon other payment options in favor of Google Billing and whether migrating users to another payment option affected the number of pre-existing users and developers’ access to data.

The developers were asked if they thought they could offer a better service or product if they had another payment system option.

The EU competition official also wanted to know if Google had allowed them to use an alternative payment system, charged a service fee for it, or complained about the security of their payment method.

App developers were asked if digital payments giant Stripe, Dutch payment system Adyen and PayPal Braintree unit are seen as alternative payment systems.

Last month, Google said non-game app developers could switch to competing payment systems at 12% lower fees instead of 15%, with the move applied to European users, in order to comply with EU rules that will take effect next year. .

Politico first reported on the UNHCR inquiry.

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