Google to Allow UK Developers to Offer Google Play Billing Alternatives to Satisfy Regulator’s Concerns

Britain’s competition regulator said proposals from Alphabet‘s Google to give app developers the freedom to break away from Google Play’s billing system looked to be sufficient to address its concerns about in-app payments.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in June that Google’s complete control over in-app payments unfairly restricted developers by forcing them to use Google Play‘s billing system, reducing competition and hurting users.

The CMA said on Wednesday that Google’s proposals would allow app developers to offer a different payment system “of their choosing” or give users a choice between an alternative payment system and Google Play’s billing system.

Third-party payments providers could market their services to app developers, as per the proposal.

“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,” said Ann Pope, senior director of antitrust at the CMA.

Google said it had made the commitments after constructive conversations with the regulator.

It said the roll out of user billing in Britain would build on its experience of offering similar systems in the European Economic Area and other parts of the world.

“Under the commitments, developers will be able to add an alternative in-app billing system, alongside Google Play’s billing system, for their mobile and tablet users in the UK,” Google said in a blog post.

“At checkout, users will be able to choose which billing system to use.”

The CMA invited comments on Google’s proposals by May 19 before it makes a final judgment.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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