The question of who controls the app economy and how is one of the defining battles in the raging debate around the power of big tech platforms. On Monday, Alphabet Inc owned Google issued an announcement that opened up an entirely new front in the fight over app stores.
A quick recap of the news: Google is updating its policies to now demand a 30% of all subscriptions and payments made inside any digital content or services app that is published on its Play Store for Android phones and tablets. The company already takes 30% for any paid app sold on the Play Store, and also for in-app transactions in, say, mobile games; earlier, however, it had an exception for “digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself”, which let apps such as Netflix and Spotify off the hook.
This comes at a time when Google and Apple—which run the only two mobile operating systems and app stores of note—are facing an outpouring of criticism around the world about their app