Google has announced that small developers will have to pay less commission in the Play Store. Developers with a revenue of up to 1 million dollars will only have to pay 15 per cent of their sales to Google. That is half of the 30 per cent that Google normally asks.
With this reduction, Google is copying the policy that Apple introduced for the App Store last autumn. Normally, Google claims 30 percent of all sales made through the Play Store. This includes paying for the app itself as well as for any in-app purchases made through the Play Store.
Benefit for 99 percent of developers
According to Google, this means that 99 percent of developers will pay half as much commission to Google. On the other hand, the vast majority of revenues from the Play Store come from a small group of huge players. Presumably, this leads to only a relatively limited loss of revenue for Google in practice.
Google and Apple policies differ slightly
The new policy will take effect on 1 July 2021. There is some difference between the policy of Google and that of Apple. At Google, all developers receive a discount on the commission for the first million dollars of revenue. For all revenues above that, developers have to pay the full 30 percent. At Apple, a developer is only eligible for the discount if they had less than 1 million dollars in sales in the previous year.
Lawsuits and investigations
Both Apple and Google are explaining this policy change as a way of giving small developers more of a chance to grow. Presumably, the two companies are feeling the pressure of the various investigations and lawsuits which have been launched mainly against Apple concerning its policy with the App Store. Many developers complain about the compulsory contribution that Apple charges for using the App Store, while the developers have nowhere else to go. There is a little less heat on Google in terms of lawsuits and investigations because Android offers more freedom in terms of alternative ways to install apps.