EU Antitrust inspectors have questioned app developers about the impact that Alphabet subsidiary Google’s threat to ban apps from its Play Store if they make use of alternate payment methods instead of its own billing system has had on their operations.
According to critics, Google and Apple’s high prices at their mobile app stores cost developers billions of dollars annually, demonstrating the two corporations’ monopoly strength.
The people claimed that questionnaires were issued to developers in July.
Some of the 16 questions in the document spanned the years 2017–2021, while others covered 2019–2021. The European Commission chose not to respond.
An email requesting a comment from Google received no response. The American tech giant has stated that starting in June of 2022, apps that do not use its pricing system would be deleted from its app store.
The question of whether Google’s policy change this year had an effect on the distribution of their products or services on the Google Play Store, as well as which apps were impacted and whether it had an influence on their capacity to attract users of Android devices, was put to the respondents.
The transition of customers to a different payment method may have an impact on the number of current users as well as the developers’ access to data. Regulators wanted to know if the shift encouraged developers to abandon alternative payment methods in favor of Google Billing.
When given the choice of a different payment mechanism, developers were questioned about if they thought they could provide a better service or product.
The EU competition enforcer also wanted to know if Google charged a service fee for this, permitted them to use an alternative payment system, or expressed concerns about the security of their chosen payment method.
The question of whether other payment systems such as Dutch payment system Adyen, PayPal subsidiary Braintree, and digital payments behemoth Stripe were posed to app developers.
In an effort to comply with EU regulations that will go into effect in the coming year, Google announced last month that non-gaming app developers can switch to competing payment systems with a reduced price of 12% instead of 15%. This change only applies to consumers in Europe.