In 2021, major legal action between Apple and Epic Games stirred a major conversation about the restrictions on apps when it comes major mobile platforms – particularly in how payment is handled. Recently, one of the biggest concessions by a platform ever was made regarding this very topic. Google has stated that it will allow Spotify to implement an update that lets the latter accept direct payments from subscribers.
Spotify and Google announced the decision in a press release on March 23, 2022, as seen on Spotify’s newsroom webpage. Described as a new “User Choice Billing” feature, Spotify will soon implement an update that gives users the option of whether they want to pay fees through Android or directly to Spotify. It marks one of the single biggest allowances of such a thing for an app from a major platform and flies directly in the face of Apple’s strict restrictions on third-party app payments on its platform. Spotify’s User Choice Billing update is expected “over the coming months,” with Google and Spotify working together to engineer the feature.
This move may ultimately put pressure on Apple’s crusade to keep control over app payments on its platform. That very topic has been one of the things at the very core of its legal battle with Epic Games. While Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled against Epic Games in most of its complaints regarding Apple as monopolistic, the judge did concede that Apple’s actions were anti-competitive and filed a permanent injunction prohibiting Apple from punishing an app for including external links to alternative payment methods.
Nonetheless, Spotify and Google’s cooperation on such alternative payment methods marks what could be a major shift in mobile policies regarding payment. It remains to be seen if Apple has a response to the situation. Stay tuned here at Shacknews for further updates.