Google Play Store to trial third-party payment options for some apps like Spotify

Users who have downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store will be presented with a choice to pay with either Spotify's payment system or with Google Play Billing.

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Google has announced it is running a pilot to allow a "small number of participating developers" to offer an additional payment option next to Google Play's payment system. Spotify has been headlined as being among these initial developers that are part of the pilot.

"This pilot will help us to increase our understanding of whether and how user choice billing works for users in different countries and for developers of different sizes and categories," Google said in a blog post.

According to Spotify, the pilot between the two companies represents a "first-of-its-kind option in payment choice" and forms part of a "multi-year agreement".

Users who have downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store will be presented with a choice to pay with either Spotify's payment system or with Google Play Billing, with the two payments options to live "side by side" in the app, Spotify explained.

"Over the coming months, Spotify will work with Google's product and engineering teams to build this new experience, and we'll roll out in countries around the world. Working together, the companies will test and learn, jointly exploring product innovations across the Android platform. We anticipate launching the first iteration of User Choice Billing later this year," Spotify said.

In announcing the pilot, neither companies specified how the pilot would affect Google's commission fees.

Google VP of product management Sameer Samat said the changes build on its decision to allow additional payment systems in South Korea, which was made in response to new South Korean legislation.

Apple and Google have faced growing scrutiny across the globe for their app store payment systems, with regulators arguing that the systems of both companies have hampered competition in the app store and mobile OS space. Earlier this week, Apple was reportedly fined €5 million by Dutch regulators for the ninth time due to its repeated failure to update anti-competitive app store policies against dating apps. The weekly penalty order issued by Dutch regulators is capped at a maximum amount of €50 million, so the iPhone maker can only be fined for one more week unless the regulator issues a fresh order.   

Epic Games, meanwhile, continues to be in litigation with the two companies over their app store practices. It's been over two years since the lawsuits began. For these lawsuits, the games developer has accused both tech giants of conducting anti-competitive and monopolistic practices due to their commission fee structure for app developers. 

Outside of the app store changes, Google also canned Play Movies and TV this week, with both of them to move to the Google TV app in May.   

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