Google to allow third-party billing alternatives for EEA app developers

Google is introducing an initiative for EEA app developers to utilize third-party billing options, with a reduced service fee of 12% instead of 15%. This move is aligned with upcoming regulations but is met with skepticism by app developer groups who see it as an attempt to avoid legal requirements. European Parliament representatives emphasize the importance of gatekeepers justifying processing fees in the future.

Google announced its new programme to support third-party billing alternatives for European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including the 27 Member States of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Developers who choose to do so would still have to meet user protection requirements and other conditions. Google would cut the service fee for developers to use alternative billing methods by 3%, which means that 99% of the developers on the platform would qualify for a service fee up to 12% instead of the original 15%. While Google claimed it to be its attempt to fulfil the obligations under the coming Digital Markets Act (DMA), an app developer interest group Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) declared that the new programme allows Google “to dodge legal obligations and requirements to maintain extraction of monopoly rents from developers.” European Parliament’s rapporteur Andreas Schwab stressed that once “the FRAND [fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory] access conditions are applied to app stores,” all gatekeepers must better justify the processing fees they charge.

Sources: Euractiv, Google, Coalition for App Fairness