Google Antitrust Trial 2.0: Internet Giant Made Secret Deal with Spotify to Bypass App Store Charges

Sundar Pichai CEO of Google ( Carsten Koall /Getty)
Carsten Koall /Getty

According to a information revealed in Epic Games’ ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Google, the internet giant made a secret agreement with Spotify allowing the streaming music platform to bypass most charges related to the Android app store.

The Verge reports that the Android app economy is buzzing with the revelation of a secret agreement between Google and Spotify. This deal, unveiled during the antitrust trial brought against Google by Fortnite developer Epic Games, has spotlighted Spotify’s unique ability to completely sidestep Android’s app store fees, a privilege not commonly extended to other app developers.

Daniel Ek, CEO of Swedish music streaming service Spotify, gestures as he makes a speech at a press conference in Tokyo on September 29, 2016. Spotify kicked off its services in Japan on September 29. / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images)

Daniel Ek, CEO of Swedish music streaming service Spotify, gestures as he makes a speech at a press conference in Tokyo on September 29, 2016. (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images)

Spotify, a leading music streaming service, has been leveraging a payment arrangement that effectively nullifies Google’s commission. When users subscribe through Spotify’s own payment system, the company pays zero commission to Google. Even more striking, if users opt for Google’s payment processor, Spotify incurs a mere four percent fee, a stark contrast to the standard 15 to 30 percent charged by Google to most app developers.

This exclusive arrangement has broader implications, especially when viewed in the context of Google’s ongoing antitrust battles. The internet giant, in its legal war with Epic Games, fought hard to keep these specific details under wraps, fearing potential backlash and more demanding negotiations with other app developers seeking similar deals.

The lawsuit, initiated in 2020, accuses Google of maintaining an unlawful monopoly through its Google Play Store on the Android operating system. Epic Games’ claims hinge on the argument that Google’s practices are monopolistic, stifling competition and innovation in the digital marketplace.

The uniqueness of Spotify’s deal with Google is further highlighted by Google’s refusal to offer similar terms to other major players like Netflix. This selective approach in offering discounted rates reveals a strategic dimension to Google’s partnerships, potentially influenced by the commercial clout and market influence of Spotify.

Interestingly, Spotify has been a vocal critic of the high commission fees charged by major app stores. In mid-2023, Spotify discontinued support for Apple’s App Store billing system to avoid paying up to a 30 percent commission. This move was part of a broader strategy by Spotify to challenge the status quo of app store economics, aligning itself with other major entities like Epic Games in the Coalition for App Fairness.

Read more at the Verge here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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