Google has announced the start of a pilot test that will allow a “small group” of Android application developers to offer their own payment system in addition to Google Play. The first company to be able to use alternative billing will be Spotify.
In its press release, Spotify states that the alternative payment system that will allow paying the Premium subscription directly to the company will be available throughout this year and will be implemented in all markets where Spotify Premium is available, that is, 184 territories. Worldwide. However, Google says that the pilot will start in some select markets that have not yet been detailed. The names of the rest of the companies that may use their own payment system are also unknown.
“This pilot will allow a small number of developers to offer an additional billing option alongside the Google Play system. […]”, comments Google. The company claims that the system is designed to present a new choice to users while maintaining their ability to continue to invest in the ecosystem. Google maintains that we are facing a “significant milestone” that no other “major app store” has implemented, whether on mobile devices, desktop or consoles.
Spotify claims its partnership with Google is part of a “multi-year deal.” We don’t know how many or how this alliance may affect the fee Google charges for purchases made using Google Play’s billing system. Unless there is an agreement, Google pockets a commission of 30% per transaction, something that it will not be able to do if the user uses the alternative payment method. We also do not know if Spotify will reduce the price of the subscription in case the customer resorts to its billing system.
Developers working on iOS and Android have been struggling to use their own payment systems for many years. Along with Spotify, Epic Games is undoubtedly the company that has made the most noise. In South Korea, there is a law that requires Google and Apple to offer third-party payment systems. Now Google will transfer this model to other countries. It remains to be seen what Apple will do, which until now has defended itself in court like a cat on its belly when someone has tried to circumvent the App Store payment system.