Google’s in-app billing enforcement is delayed due to US lawsuits

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Google has been sued by dozens of state attorney generals over Play Store policies. The app store, run by Google, is now delaying the enforcement of one of its most significant recent changes, a requirement that all Play Store apps have to use Google’s in-app billing or get banned.

Developers are now allowed to ask for a six-month extension on that deadline if they wish to. Back in September last year, the search giant announced it was cracking down on its app-billing rules.

Enforcing a Payment Policy

For a long time, the policy was that the apps use Google’s in-app purchases billing system, but it was not enforced. Without repercussions, developers may have continued to ignore that rule had Google not said that all in-app purchases, including subscriptions from Netflix and Spotify, would run through it.

Late Friday, Google posted an update saying that after considering feedback from both large and small developers, it is giving them an option to request a 6-month extension, which will push the new deadline to March 31, 2022. Google did not mention the lawsuits in its statement and opted to attribute the delay to an engineering problem.

A technical excuse

Even with a one-year notice before the deadline gets here, the search giant says that the pandemic is making it harder for developers to rapidly switch to Google’s in-app billing system. It reported that many of its partners have been steadily progressing to beat the September deadline.

However, it says that reports from all over the world for the past year have been difficult to obtain, especially from engineering teams in regions that are still hard-hit by the pandemic. Technical updates related to this policy are what’s causing the delay, according to Google.

Thirty-six states sued the company, saying that it is limiting app store competition.