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NEW DELHI: Amid rising questions about its Play Store policies, Google today clarified how billing works on its app store. The company said developers who are using the Play Store to sell digital services will be required to use its built-in payment tools and pay a 30% commission to Google.

“Every developer that chooses to sell digital content through Google Play will use Play billing. Developers have choice, they have third party stores, they can sell through the web, and in many different ways," said Purnima Kochikar, Director, Google Play.

Today's clarification is a reiteration of Google’s long-standing policies around billing, and the company says 97% of developers on Google Play also comply with it. The company is giving the remaining 3% of developers time till September 30, 2021 to make changes necessary to their apps to comply with these policies.

“This has been a long road in several clarifications," said Kochikar, with respect to the timing of the announcement. She said the company continuously clarifies its policies every quarter, but felt that “it was important" to have an “open dialogue" about this particular policy because of questions that were being asked. She didn’t mention any Indian app which has violated the billing policies.

Kochikar said when it clarified its policies around SMS/call log permissions last year, it reduced apps that were looking at such permissions by 96%.

Companies like Google and Apple have been facing push-back, and even litigation, worldwide about their billing policies for app stores. Both companies recently dropped gaming giant Epic Games from their respective stores for violating their billing policies.

A notable difference between Google and Apple’s policies though is that the Android maker won’t just allow apps to use their own payment methods, they will also be able to communicate these methods to users, something Apple doesn’t allow. “To clarify, Google Play does not have any limitations here on this kind of communication outside of a developer’s app. For example, they might have an offering on another Android app store or through their website at a lower cost than on Google Play," the company said in a blog post.

Commissions Google and Apple charge on their respective app stores was also the subject of a recent antitrust investigation by the US Congress.

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