Android 12 will make it easier to use third-party app stores, Google has announced through a blog post. The new change has come into place alongside a “clarity” being released specifically for Google Play’s payments policy. Google has apparently brought the new developments as a response to its ongoing tussle with game publisher Epic Games over the cut that it takes for purchases made through Google Play. On August 14, the North Carolina-based company, which is the maker of Fortnite, sued Apple and Google for removing the game from their app stores.
Unlike Apple that has so far made it clear that there is just one app store for downloading iOS apps, Google has allowed third-party app stores alongside Google Play to Android users. This will be expanded further with next year’s Android 12 release.
Google noted in its blog post that the on the feedback it received from developers, the new Android version will carry certain changes that will “make it easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place.” The company also tried to highlight that it does not follow the model that Apple considers for its app store and has “always allowed people to get apps from multiple stores.”
“This openness means that even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform. This is why Fortnite, for example, is available directly from Epic’s store or from other app stores including Samsung’s Galaxy App store,” the company said.
However, for app developers who want to continue using Google Play, Google has updated its payments policy. The new update doesn’t bring any relaxation to the existing in-app payments that involves the cut that Google takes from each app offering in-app purchases via Google Play.
To particularly answer the anti-competitive behaviour’s allegation made by Epic Games, Google said that its policies apply equally to all apps distributed on Google Play — including its in-house apps. “We use the same standards to decide which apps to promote on Google Play, whether they’re third-party apps or our own apps,” the company said.
Google also stated that it supports developers bringing new innovations to their apps and considering feedback from its developer community. This is, of course, important to retain the faith and trust of developers amid facing legal challenges from companies including Epic Games.