Google is announcing the changes it plans to make to its Android platform, especially its app store.
Google says it will further facilitate the use of third-party app stores on Android 12, which is coming out next year.
According to the company, this is a response to a request from developers.
Until now, Android users have not been locked in to purchase apps only from the official Play Store, but few users know there are options for the app store.
Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t force users to download apps only from their own store.
There are alternative application stores that are manufacturer-specific and others.
Samsung has a Galaxy Store on its devices, while Huawei competes with the App Gallery after losing the right to use Google Play on its devices.
In addition, Amazon and Yandex, among others, have their own app stores.
In China, for example, Google Play is not available at all, but there are many competing app stores in the market.
Google did not specify what changes the Android 12, which is still behind the horizon, will bring when it comes, but the company says security will be taken care of.
Even now, it is not recommended to download applications from sources other than official sources.
Otherwise, the user is more likely to be exposed to malware and other scams.
At the same time, Google made a significant policy: Play Store should not circumvent its payment policy.
If the app is chargeable or can be purchased for real money within it, it must use Google's billing system.
Google will take a 30 percent share of the fees.
The New York Times points out, for example, that Netflix and Spotify have exploited the loophole and have allowed consumers to pay them directly without Google’s intermediary.
Read more: Comment: The boundaries of power between Apple and Google came together - is the downturn now beginning?
It is unclear what the consequences will be for users.
App providers aren’t forced to use Google Store, but to stay there, some may feel the need to raise prices as Google takes their share.
All applications must be compliant by the end of September next year.
At the same time, Google offers competing movie and music services, for example.
Spotify has complained to the EU about Apple's actions in a similar case.
Spotify claims that Apple favors its own services by offering them at the same price as its competitors, nearly a third of whose revenue goes to the “Apple tax”.
Now the situation with Google has become identical.
Read more: Spotify complains about Apple to EU - wants to stop funding
Google recently issued starting passes for Epic’s Fortnite game, which circumvented the Play Store payment policy.
Google even refers to this in its blog, emphasizing the freedom of developers to offer their applications outside the market as well.
- This transparency means that even if the developer and Google do not agree on the terms of business, the developer can still share [their app] on the Android platform.
Because of this, Fortnite, for example, is available directly from the Epic store or other app stores like Samsung’s Galaxy app store, Google writes.
Epic has sued Google over Fortnite, but the main dispute concerns Apple, whose applications and operating system ecosystem does not allow outside means to download applications.
Read more: A new twist in Apple's Fortnite dispute: The game splits in two
It is expected that higher-level guidelines will be obtained, at least on a continental basis.
However, a long legal battle with spirits of appeals is expected, as app stores are about big money.
Apple reported $ 61 billion ($ 51 billion) in digital sales in the App Store in 2019. However, the figure does not include ads seen in downloaded applications, for example, in which Apple also contributes, says The Verge.