Play Store Problems

I enjoyed hearing more on Ben’s description of the recent charges against Google’s Play Store. It’s easy to criticize the attorneys generals across these states for targeting Google instead of Apple when google’s store is clearly more permissive than Apples.

It’s not about narrow market definitions, sideloading, the 70/30 split or any platform limitations on what apps can and cant do. The issue real issue is Google changing the rules while in flight.

Google’s blog post from September 2020 is a clear example with a “clarification” on which kinds of apps need to use in app purchase to include previously exempted apps like music and video streaming services. Before this change only games were required to use in-app purchases, but Epic called this discrimination in their own lawsuit.

The argument is change like this is an example of a monopoly exerting too much power over their narrow slice of the market. It alledges that Google has a monolopy over “licensable mobile operating systems” and that its using its monolopy power to force the change in IAP rules that app makers are forced to comply with.

Apple has the same exact rule, but the argument with apple is that everyone new thats what they were getting when they signed up while Google is pulling out the rug and benefiting no one but themselves.

I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for any product manager at Google working on the play store. It’s clear they are making the right moves for Google’s bottom line but the insane amount of recent scrutiny over ever move they make must be paralyzing.