Google Is Slashing Fees for Play Store Apps, So, Please Stop Yelling

Google Is Slashing Fees for Play Store Apps, So, Please Stop Yelling
Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

Facing increased regulatory pressure, on Thursday, Google moved to further slash the fees it collects from downloads of its subscription-based Play Store offerings for Android.

Back in March, Google announced plans to reduce its cut from Play Store proceeds on most apps from 30% down to 15% effective July 1. Google’s only real competitor in the industry, Apple, charges a 30% fee for subscription services for the first year and 15% for each year thereafter. Apple does make an exception for apps with revenue below $1 million, only taking a 15% cut from the jump.

In its blog post today, Google said that it’s going further and 99% of the developers that populate the Play Store will now qualify for the lower 15% service fee from day one in a move away from a “one size fits all” service fee model “…to ensure all types of businesses can be successful… and encourage our diverse app ecosystem.”

The company also announced an updated policy around commissions on ebooks, music streaming services — “where content costs account for the majority of sales” — with those services now being eligible for fees as low as 10%. That shift, according to Google, is designed to lessen the financial burden on “developers and the communities of artists, musicians, and authors they represent.”

Both Google and Apple have been under fire for the exorbitant fees they charge developers in recent months, and both companies are the subject of a high-stakes legal battle with Epic Games, which moved to sue after the companies kicked the massively popular game Fortnite out of their respective app stores in August. Google is also currently facing a pack of state and federal antitrust lawsuits — including one being brought by a group of 36 states and the District of Columbia that specifically accuses the company of taking advantage of its considerable market power to foist its malignant mobile app store policies on vulnerable developers.