LONDON (Bywire News) - EU antitrust regulators are asking app developers whether Google’s threat to remove apps from the Play Store for using alternative payment options from their own billing system has affected their business.
Critics claim the fees Google and Apple charge on their app stores are excessive and cost developers collectively billions of dollars a year. According to sources, questionnaires were sent to developers last month.
Out of the 16 questions in the document, some covered periods of 2017-2021 whereas others focused on 2019-2021. The European Commission declined to comment and Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.
US tech giants said apps would be removed from its app store starting in June this year following a failure from developers to use its billing system.
Respondents were asked if Google’s policy change would impact the distribution of their goods and services on the Google Play Store, which apps were affected and if it harmed their ability to accrue android users.
Regulators were interested in identifying whether the change has forced developers to drop alternative payment options in favour of Google Billing and if migrating users to another platform affected the number of pre-existing users with developer access to data.
Developers were asked if they believed they could offer a better service or product if they have the option of another payment system.
EU competition enforcer has a key interest in knowing if Google allowed them to use an alternative payment system if it charged a service fee for this and if it complained about the security of their payment method.
App developers were asked if US payment giant Stripes, Dutch payment system Adyen and PayPal are seen as adequate alternative payment systems.
In July, Google said non-gaming app developers can switch to rival payment systems with a fee of 12% instead of 15%. However, this only applies to European users, as they attempt to comply with EU rules coming into play next year.
(Writing by Samba Jallow, editing by Tom Cropper and Klaudia Fior)