In the ongoing Epic vs Google antitrust lawsuit in the US (you can follow The Verge for live updates), new details about lucrative deals offered by Google to lure some major apps to use the Play billing system emerged. This preferential treatment of certain large companies isn't going to bode well with other Android developers who are already challenging Google Play's dominance around the world. 1. Google's deal with Spotify allows the streaming app to bypass fees entirely: Google has a deal with Spotify that allows the streaming app to pay zero fees when users pay through Spotify's billing system and a mere 4 percent fee when users pay through Google billing. Spotify can offer its own billing system under the User Choice Billing program, but other apps under this program are expected to pay an 11 to 26 percent fee when users pay through the alternative billing. Google's lawyers fought to keep the terms of the deal a secret, but it was ultimately out. Google argued that it gave Spotify this deal because Spotify's “unprecedented” popularity was enough to justify it. Spotify was one of the most vocal challengers of the Play Store billing policy and had filed an antitrust challenge in the EU against Google until it was offered the deal under User Choice Billing in 2022. You can read more about the Spotify deal here. 2. Project Hug deals with major game developers Epic's unredacted lawsuit from 2021 already brought to light the Project Hug program that offered…
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