Epic Games is currently suing both Apple and Google over their fees.
Unlike Apple, which only allows iOS devices to support its App Store, Samat wrote in his blog post that Google plans to make it easier for users to get their apps from places other than the official Play Store.
“We believe that developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps and that stores should compete for the consumer’s and the developer’s business,” Samat wrote, adding that the release of Android 12 next year will include functionality to make it easier for users to install alternative app stores on their phones.
However, there appears to be some nuance here. Samat suggested that developers would not be able to tell users how to avoid Google’s in-app tax within their Google Play app.
He wrote, emphasis ours: “Developers have asked whether they can communicate with their customers directly about pricing, offers, and alternative ways to pay beyond their app via email or other channels.
“To clarify, Google Play does not have any limitations here on this kind of communication outside of a developer’s app.”
Google’s post appears geared towards heading off accusations of anti-competitive behavior.
Developers have complained in the past that Apple wields monopolistic power by only allowing iOS devices to use its App Store, which in turn forces developers to pay its 30% payment commission. Google allows Android users to install apps from stores other than its Play Store, though the Play Store is still the primary way most people access apps.