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Spotify is the first to launch non-Google Android billing in the US

Spotify is the first partner for Google Play’s “User Choice Billing.”

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Enlarge / Let’s see, you landed on my “Google Ads” space, and with three houses… that will be $1,400. (credit: Ron Amadeo / Hasbro)

Google is slowly loosening its grip over billing on Google Play. In March, the company announced a pilot “User Choice Billing” plan, which would give users the option to buy things on Google Play through a third-party payment processor. In some countries, the pilot launched in September, with Google taking developer sign-ups in the European Economic Area, Australia, India, Indonesia, and Japan. Today the feature is finally coming to the US, with Google announcing expansion to the US, Brazil, and South Africa.

As announced in March, Google’s first partner for this project is one of its biggest customers, Spotify, which has its own blog post announcing that the feature is rolling out this week. The Play Store has always required developers exclusively use Google Play Billing for app payments, but bigger companies like Spotify and Netflix ignored those rules for years, seemingly deciding they were too big to ban. For years, they were right, but Google announced it would really start enforcing its rules, even for the big companies, in 2022. When the March deadline arrived, though, it also came the announcement of User Choice Billing, with Spotify as the first partner, so it’s not clear that Google was ever able to actually get Spotify to follow the rules.

Spotify first gives you options for "Spotify" or "Google Play," and tapping the "Spotify" button lets you type in a credit card or use PayPal.

Spotify first gives you options for “Spotify” or “Google Play,” and tapping the “Spotify” button lets you type in a credit card or use PayPal.

Spotify has a picture of what its officially sanctioned User Choice Billing will look like, though, with payment buttons for “Google Play” and “Spotify” right next to each other on the subscription checkout page. Tapping the “Spotify” button brings up options to type in a credit card directly or use PayPal. Spotify says it is “the first to pilot” User Choice Billing with this launch, and Google says that the dating app Bumble is the second app to be approved for alternative billing.

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