Google toeing the Apple route, mandates all Android apps in Play Store to use IAPs from next year

By this, apps like Netflix, Spotify etc., must use Google Play's in-app billing system for their customers where it collects 30% of every proceed.

By · Sep 29, 2020 . 8min read

Google mandates in app purchases latest news

Google has released an update carrying a review in the Play Store billing system mandating all Android apps to adopt in-app purchases (IAP). This is expected to kick-in from next year.

By this, apps like Netflix, Spotify, etc., must use Google Play’s in-app billing system for their customers. Hence, Google gets 30% of the cost of any purchase through its store.

The norm has been that IAP for any Android application can optionally choose Google’s IAPs. The easiest option is that consumers enter their card details which a third-party uses anytime they initiate purchases. Consequently, Google doesn’t get any share from the proceeds.

Already, only 3% of applications on Play Store use Google’s IAPs billing system to collect proceeds from their apps. With its latest policy, Google is now changing the game.

Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management at Google posted and said,

We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system.

However limiting this might be to Android developers, Google says they are still free to communicate with them on the alternatives to IAPs, but outside the app. And for the enforcement of this new policy, Google says it will kick into effect from September 30, 2021. However, any new apps developers submit after January 20, 2021, will need to comply.

Crypto OGs weigh in on their thoughts on the new Google Play Store billing system.

As was the case with Apple vs Epic Games on IAPs, many Crypto Evangelists expressed their displeasure. They made the case that no one, not even the Dapp developers, can censor Dapp users. In a similar vein, Crypto OGs like Vitalik Buterin and Dan Held of Kraken fx shares their thoughts.

Vitalik tweeted his concerns and said,

We need more competition in app stores and ultimately mobile phone operating systems, and we need it now

He goes further to advocate for decentralized app stores but acknowledges the scam pervasiveness of the ecosystem. To solve this, he says dapp store developers could experiment with decentralized reputation systems.

However ambitious this sounds, Dan Held says it’s just an “unrealistic/pie in the sky ideas”. He expounds further on why his position saying

that is near impossible until there is a new hardware contender + OS (ex: Snap glasses in the future)

While the conversation ensued, kept asking Vitalik to look into Elastos and help throw in his support. Elastos is an ecosystem of decentralized applications powered by Bitcoin blockchain. As an infrastructure protocol, Elastos offers developers the ability to build decentralized applications with modern scalability and security. It provides access to essential features like Ethereum-compatible smart contracts. And ironically, its elastOS Browser is available for download on Google Play Store.

Whether Vitalik will support Elastos, which is clearly competition to Ethereum is unclear. Whatever the case is, when Google finally starts enforcing its Android IAPs rules, even crypto applications won’t be exempted. We saw this in Brian’s recent rant against Apple’s antagonistic policies towards DeFi.

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