Google has been accused of playing favorites in treating Android app developers. The Verge reports that a recently unsealed consumer lawsuit against Google is being offered the company to make a “significantly reduced” cut in revenue from Netflix’s Play Store in an attempt to quell “the streaming giant’s displeasure.” Netflix, Spotify, and Tinder all reportedly tried to bypass the requirement to use the Play Store’s in-house billing system, and deals like this should get Netflix to use Google’s payment platform.
The same filing also contains the claim that Google’s normal revenue sharing is arbitrary. Where the company typically calls for a 30 percent cut in Play Store purchases, it has apparently found that it could offset just six percent. Internal communications suggest that Google chose the 30 percent stake for no reason “except to copy Apple,” according to the lawsuit.
We asked Google for a comment. In a statement to The Verge, a spokeswoman claimed that developers are bound by the same guidelines as “all other developers” and that efforts are being made to support app manufacturers with “increased resources and investments.” These initiatives are proof of “healthy competition” in operating systems and app stores, Google said.
However, if the allegations are true, it wouldn’t be – Google would have given Netflix a bargain deal that is not available to other Play Store developers. The company wouldn’t be alone either. Internal emails also suggest that Apple offered Netflix perks that it didn’t make available to others using the App Store.
Anyway, Google may have no choice but to change its practices. Apple recently softened the rules of the App Store as part of a proposed settlement allowing developers to offer customers alternative payment systems – something Google is still banning, as the lawyers behind the unsealed lawsuit point out. Between these latest revelations and other lawsuits like those from Epic and the attorneys general, Google is under heavy pressure to follow Apple and otherwise make concessions to avoid more serious legal repercussions.
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