EU antitrust authorities have asked app developers whether Alphabet Unit Google’s threat to remove apps from its Play Store if they use payment options other than its own billing system has hurt their business, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters .
Critics say the fees Google and Apple charge in their mobile app stores are excessive, costing developers billions of dollars a year combined, a sign of the two companies’ monopoly.
Questionnaires were sent out to developers last month, people said.
Of the 16 questions in the document, some related to the 2017-2021 period and others to 2019-2021. The European Commission declined to comment. Google has not responded to an email request for comment.
The US tech giant has announced that starting in June this year, apps will be removed from its App Store if developers don’t use its billing system.
Respondents were asked if Google’s policy change this year affected the distribution of its goods or services on the Google Play Store, which apps were affected and whether it affected their ability to attract users on Android devices, the people said .
Regulators wanted to know whether the change has forced developers to drop other payment options in favor of Google Billing, and whether migrating users to another payment option will affect the number of users already in place and developers’ access to data.
The developers were asked if they thought they could offer a better service or product if they had the option of a different payment system.
The EU competition authorities also wanted to know whether Google allowed them to use an alternative payment system, charged a service fee for it or complained about the security of their payment method.
App developers were asked if digital payments giant Stripe, Dutch payments system Adyen and PayPal unit Braintree are considered alternative payment systems.
Last month, Google said non-gaming app developers could switch to competing payment systems with a lower fee of 12 percent instead of 15 percent, with the switch applying to European users to comply with EU regulations that come into effect next year.
Politico first reported on the commission’s request.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/eu-anti-trust-regulators-quiz-developers-on-google-app-payments-41891537.html EU antitrust authorities question developers over Google app payments