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EU antitrust regulators quiz developers on Google app payments sources

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) EU antitrust regulators have asked app developers whether Alphabet unit Googles threat to eliminate apps from its Play Store should they use other payment options rather than its billing system has hurt their business, two different people familiar with the problem told Reuters.

Critics say fees charged by Google and Apple at their mobile app stores are excessive and cost developers collectively vast amounts of dollars per year, an indicator of both companies monopoly power.

Questionnaires were delivered to developers last month, individuals said.

Of the 16 questions in the document, some covered the time 2017-2021 among others 2019-2021. The European Commission declined to comment. Google didn’t react to an emailed obtain comment.

The U.S. tech giant has said apps will be taken off its app store starting June this season if developers usually do not use its billing system.

Respondents were asked whether Googles policy change this season impacted the distribution of these goods or services on Google Play Store, which apps were affected and when it affected their capability to acquire users on Android devices, individuals said.

Regulators wished to know if the change has forced developers to drop other payment options towards Google Billing and whether migrating users to some other payment option affected the amount of pre-existing users and the developers usage of data.

Developers were asked if they believed they might provide a better goods and services if they have the choice of another payment system.

The EU competition enforcer also wished to know if Google allowed them to utilize an alternative solution payment system, charged something fee because of this or complained concerning the security of these payment method.

App developers were asked if U.S. payments giant Stripes, Dutch payment system Adyen and PayPal unit Braintree have emerged as alternative payment systems.

Last month, Google said non-gaming app developers can switch to rival payment systems with a lesser fee of 12% rather than 15%, with the move deciding on European users, to be able to adhere to EU rules that may enter into force next year.

Politico first reported concerning the Commissions query.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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