Court documents from a lawsuit filed by several U.S. states against Google for antitrust practices in its Play Store reveal that Google arbitrarily set its commission on all Play Store transactions at 30% to serve no purpose other than “copying Apple” — reports The Verge.
Apple’s 30% cut of App Store purchases has come under heavy fire as part of Epic Games’ ongoing battle against the iPhone maker, and these recent court documents disclose just how preposterous a 30% commission is for platforms like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
Internal Google figures cited in the antitrust lawsuit suggest that Google breaks even at about 6% for all Play Store transactions.
While Google lowered Play Store commissions to 15% for developers making less than $1 million USD per year after Apple made the same move last year, 15% is still more than double the company’s break-even point for the Play Store.
Internal Google communications quoted in the court complaint admit that the tech giant setting its “arbitrary fee” for Play Store transactions at 30% has “[n]o rationale, other than copying Apple.”
Understandably, many apps and subscription services have tried to skirt the Play Store’s 30% commission over the years. The lawsuit has also brought to light cases of selective treatment by Google towards some of the ‘bigger fish’ on the Play Store.
When Netflix wanted to ditch Google Play Billing for a more affordable alternative, Google offered to ‘sweeten the pot’ for the streaming platform by reducing its commission.
According to an unsealed filing from the same antitrust case, the Play Store did $11.2 billion USD of business in 2019, posting $8.5 billion USD in gross profit and a whopping $7 billion USD in operating income.