States lawsuit targets Google Play Store IAP requirement

States lawsuit targets Google Play Store IAP requirement

In the US, Google is already subject to advertising and Search complaints. Several US states are now targeting the Google Play Store in a new antitrust lawsuit.

At issue is the requirement that Google announced last year that all Android apps downloaded via the Play Store must use Play Billing. All in-app purchases have to go through Google, which results in the company taking a cut.

Last September, the company said less than 3% of developers handle billing directly — which sees end users give credit card information directly to the app maker. However, this includes big names like Netflix and Spotify today. 

Google framed the decision last year as ensuring consistency and making sure all developers are subject to the same policy. The company believes that it provides various infrastructure and security benefits to developers and users alike. Meanwhile, a centralized system means that end users can visit one page in the Play Store to manage and cancel subscriptions. Consumption-only reader apps are exempt from the upcoming policy, while developers can tell users about alternate purchase options but only outside the app. 

This policy is set to go into effect on September 30, 2021, and what 36 states, as well as Washington D.C., are trying to preempt. According to Politico, it’s led by Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska.

This lawsuit comes as Google previously announced that it would soon just take 15% of the first $1 million in revenue for all Android developers. Down from 30%, there’s a similar reduction for audio and video streaming apps that agree to support all of Google’s form factors.

The Department of Justice in October of 2020 targeted Search and deals that Google strikes with various vendors. A group of states went further that December, while another state coalition took aim at Google’s monopoly power in advertising. 

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