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
ProtonMail’s chief executive officer said Apple forced the email service to introduce in-app purchases in a move he likened to “mafia extortion.”
The encrypted and privacy-focused email service launched on the App Store in 2016. Although it offered a premium tier on its website, there wasn’t an option to purchase it within the app.
In 2016, Apple told the email service “out of the blue” that it had to add an in-app purchase option to remain on the App Store, ProtonMail CEO Andy Yen said in an interview with The Verge.
“For the first two years we were in the App Store, that was fine, no issues there,” Yen said. “But a common practice we see … as you start getting significant uptake in uploads and downloads, they start looking at your situation more carefully, and then as any good mafia extortion goes, they come to shake you down
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
Emarketer, the well-regarded source of much digital research data, has released data showing that in-app purchases (typically for virtual goods) in mobile apps are growing as a revenue source, and that advertising, due to Covid is shrinking. The mobile app economy has been dominated by in-app purchases since the advent of the smartphone, particularly due to the presence of extensive in-app purchases items in mobile gaming apps. In non-gaming apps there is rising revenue driven by content subscriptions.
Sensor Tower, a well-known data analytics firm in the mobile app arena, according to eMarketer, estimated that global app revenues from in-app purchases rose by 23.4% year-over-year in the first half of 2020 and $36.6 billion came from within games, an increase of more than 20% YOY.
Taking a page out of Apple’s (AAPL) – Get Report book, Google will begin more strictly enforcing rules that require developers to use Google’s (GOOGL) – Get Report payment system for in-app purchases.
Google announced the change on its Android developer blog on Monday, describing it as a clarification of Google’s existing rules on in-app purchases. Google had an existing policy requiring developers to use Google’s billing system, but the policy had been loosely enforced.
“We’ve always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods, and pay a service fee from a percentage of the purchase,” wrote Sameer Samat, VP of product management at Android. “We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair.
Bloomberg reports that Google will reemphasize its in-app purchase policy with developers who list their apps on the Play Store. Google currently mandates that all services with in-app purchases use the Google Play Store’s billing services, a process which allows Google to keep about 30% of the revenue.
Google’s policy has been the same for years, but the company will reinforce it, as many developers are not following Google’s requirements. The reinforcement is not a welcome sign to developers, who are also fighting against Apple’s recent reinforcement of in-app purchasing rules.
A group of popular smartphone app publishers, including Spotify, Epic Games and Basecamp, have announced the creation of the “Coalition for App Fairness,” which hopes to more fair arrangements between app stores and
Google plans to push harder for developers to give the company a cut of in-app purchases through its Play app store, according to people with knowledge of the move.
The Alphabet Inc. unit plans to issue updated guidelines as early as next week that clarify a requirement for most apps to use Google’s billing service for in-app content downloads, game upgrades and subscriptions. This system gives the company a 30% cut of purchases inside of apps on Android.
While this requirement has existed for years, some major developers including Netflix Inc., Spotify Technology SA, Match Group Inc. and Epic Games Inc., have circumvented the rule. Netflix and Spotify apps prompt consumers to pay using a credit card, rather than their Play app store account, bypassing Google’s fee. Last year, Match Group’s Tinder dating app launched a similar payment process.
More recently, Epic Games started letting players buy in-game upgrades for