Lower 15% Google Play fee offered for Wear OS, Android Auto integrations

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Google is offering Android app developers a lowered Google Play commission rate if they agree to add deeper integration for Google platforms like WearOS and Android Auto in their apps.

Like Apple's App Store, Google charges a 30% commission fee for transactions in the Google Play Store. While it has already announced one program to reduce the fee for some developers, it has introduced a second that could make the change more permanent for larger apps.

Called the Play Media Experience Program, Google hopes to encourage developers of Android apps to support other platforms than just smartphones, specifically others that Google also manages. This entails making apps in various categories work with Google's other platforms.

For example, video apps will have to enable integration with Android TV, Google TV, and Google Cast, complete with cross-device playback and sign-in integrations. Audio apps will have to integrate with WearOS, Android Auto, Android TV, and Google Cast.

Lastly, reading apps will need to include tablet and foldable optimizations, Wear OS and Android Auto for audiobooks, and Google's Entertainment Space discovery platform.

Apps also have to provide a good user experience with a strong Google Play rating, have a developer account in good standing, and other additional requirements depending on the type of apps being produced. The apps also need to achieve at least 100,000 monthly active installs on Google Play to qualify.

In exchange for meeting the criteria, developers are said to benefit from "additional discovery and engagement opportunities across devices," as well as a reduction of the commission from 30% to 15%.

This is not the only program Google operates to lower the commission fee. In a program that follows the same lines as an Apple initiative, Google lowers the commission fee to 15% for the first $1 million in revenue earned by an app per year, before raising up to 30%.

It appears that the new program may be beneficial to established and larger apps, as the 15% applies beyond the first $1 million, making it an attractive offer for some developers.

It remains to be seen if Apple will offer its own counter proposal to developers for its own ecosystem. Given the continued attention and scrutiny the App Store finds itself under for the commission fee, it is plausible Apple could also implement something similar for developers within its own ecosystem.

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