Google is following Apple’s lead by adding new developer fees in the EU

Yesterday Google outlined the changes it will make to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) that goes into effect starting today. One important detail it left out, however, was whether it would charge developers who directed users outside the Play Store to sideload apps — and if so, how much.

Now, Google has revealed that it will indeed charge developers even if they don’t use the Play Store, just like Apple did with the App Store. Per new details found in the Play Console help section, the company will charge two new fees:

  1. An initial acquisition fee of 10% for in-app purchases or 5% for subscriptions for two years. This represents the value Play provided in facilitating initial user acquisition.

  2. An ongoing services fee of 17% for in-app purchases or 7% for subscriptions. This covers ongoing Play services like parental controls, security, fraud prevention, and app updates.

Developers can opt out of ongoing fees after two years if users agree, but ongoing Play services will no longer apply. “Since users acquired the app through Play with the expectation of services such as parental controls, security scanning, fraud prevention, and continuous app updates, discontinuation of services requires user consent as well,” Google stated.

Google included the following chart to show how the fees will apply to a hypothetical “Fantastiq App”:

Google is following Apple's lead by adding new developer fees in the EU


With this, Google is taking a similar approach to Apple, which reduced App Store commissions but introduced new fees. Namely, Apple tacked on on a new 3 percent “payment processing” fee for transactions that go through its store. And a new “core technology fee” will charge a flat €0.50 fee for all app downloads, regardless of whether they come from the App Store or a third-party website, after the first 1 million installations.

Google is justifying the fees by touting the value it provides in the Android ecosystem: “Play’s fees support our investment in Android and Google Play and reflect the value provided by Android and Play, including enabling us to distribute Android for free and provide the continuously growing suite of tools and services that help developers build successful businesses, all while keeping our platforms safe and secure for billions of users worldwide.”

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney already blasted Google’s post about DMA compliance yesterday, before the new fees were even made public. “Google announced its malicious compliance plans for the European DMA law… it looks like their illegal anti-steering policy will be replaced by a new Google Tax on web transactions. We’ll likely soon learn how he and other developers react to the new fees.

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