When pressure from South Korean legislators increased to allow an alternative payment system on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, Google introduced a new ‘user choice billing’ payment system and launched its pilot in partnership with Spotify.
Now, Spotity has released the initial test implementation of the “user choice billing” on Google Play Store in select countries. It is a major step for the Swedish audio streaming service which has been fighting for an alternative payment system outside iOS App Store and Play Store for years.
Will Apple allow alternative payment systems on App Store like it does in South Korea?
With the new “User Choice Billing” payment system, Spotify can add a link to its own payment system on its Android app which offers a cheaper subscription fee than through Google Play Store.
However, Spotify is still liable to pay Google a percentage of its in-app purchases as a commission for using its platform. In its announcement post Spotify said:
Spotify has been publicly advocating for platform fairness and expanded payment options for years. We believe that fair and open platforms enable better, frictionless consumer experiences that also empower developers to imagine, innovate, and thrive.
Apple announced a similar alternative payment system for the South Korean App Store in 2021 which has yet to go into effect. At the time the company said:
“We look forward to working with the KCC and our developer community on a solution that benefits our Korean users. Apple has a great deal of respect for Korea’s laws and a strong history of collaboration with the country’s talented app developers. Our work will always be guided by keeping the App Store a safe and trusted place for our users to download the apps they love.”
The relationship between Spotify and Apple has degenerated over the years. In 2019, Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU accusing the tech giant of locking consumers in its App Store payment system which was unfair and restrictive. The audio streamer wanted alternative payment methods to be allowed on the iOS ecosystem.
On the other hand, Apple has been strongly against sideloading or alternative payment methods on iOS because of user safety and privacy concerns.
Recently, App Store’s review team gave Spotify a tough time in the approval of its latest update to add support for audiobooks which trigger the audio streamer to approach British regulators against its control, reportedly. Thus, it seems unlikely that Apple will also allow alternative payment on iOS soon.