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Google Is Stoking Antitrust Criticisms at the Worst Possible Time

The search giant is demanding its cut from a small number of high-profile developers. Major tech corporations have been under intensifying antitrust scrutiny in recent years over various business practices. For Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the primary concerns relate to the iOS App Store and the company's 30% cut of digital sales and subscriptions. For Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary Google, critics argue that Google's dominant position in search allows it to funnel users into its own online services. Google is giving developers about a year (until Sept. 30, 2021) before it starts enforcing the changes in Android 12, which will be next year's major Android release. "We've always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play's billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods, and pay a service fee from a percentage of the purchase," Google product exec Sameer Samat wrote. However, Google has never strictly enforced this policy, and a couple of rather prominent developers have historically circumvented Google Play billing and allowed users to make direct payments in apps via credit card: Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Spotify (NYSE:SPOT).

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