Google will allow third-party billing services for apps and games on the Play Store in India
Last year, India’s Competition Commission (ICC) fined Google for restricting third-party payment services and was also investigating the company for other anti-competitive behavior. After Google’s recent plea to the Supreme Court to block CCI orders was rejected, the company must change its agreements with phone makers and ease the rules for users.
From next month, Android users in India will be able to use third-party billing services for apps and games. They will also be able to choose another default search engine using a choice screen during setup. These particular rules only apply in India, although other regions have similar rules in place.
As for smartphone manufacturers, they will be allowed to pre-install individual Google app licenses on the devices they ship. Previously, manufacturers were forced to bundle the entire Google suite.
Google will continue to appeal CCI’s decision, but for now it is working to implement the following changes:
- OEMs will be able to license individual Google apps to be pre-installed on their devices.
- Android users have always been able to customize their devices according to their preferences. Indian users will now have the option to choose their default search engine via a choice screen that will soon start appearing when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.
- We’re updating the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes that allow partners to create unsupported or derived variants.
- User Choice Billing will be available for all apps and games starting next month. With User Choice Billing, developers can offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system in addition to Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.
- Android has always supported installing apps from a variety of sources, including via sideloading, which involves app downloads directly from a developer’s website. We recently made changes to Android’s installation flow and auto-update capability for independently downloaded apps and app stores, while ensuring users understand the security risks potentials.
A few days ago, Google also agreed to allow third-party app stores to be listed on the Google Play Store, also under pressure from the CCI (see Reuters report for details).