Title: Google’s Special Offer to Netflix Revealed in Epic v. Google Trial
Subtitle: Google’s app store faces scrutiny in the ongoing lawsuit, as Netflix’s payment arrangement comes under the spotlight
In a recent twist during the Epic v. Google trial, details emerged surrounding a special discounted rate Google offered to streaming giant Netflix in 2017. The tech giant proposed a deal that would allow Netflix to retain 90 percent of the money from in-app payments on Android, a significantly higher percentage than the standard rate.
During the trial, documents and testimony unveiled that the offer was part of a program called LRAP++ and was exclusively extended to Netflix. Prior to this arrangement, Netflix was paying Google 15 percent for in-app subscriptions on Android. However, it is important to note that before partnering with Google, Netflix had its own payment method, which cost the streaming service closer to three percent.
Google, which is currently facing allegations of maintaining an unlawful monopoly with its app store, attempted to entice Netflix into using Google Play Billing (GPB) voluntarily. However, Netflix declined the special 10 percent deal, remaining skeptical about Google’s payment system outperforming their own.
Even now, Netflix directs Android users to subscribe and pay through a mobile browser instead of using the Netflix app. In a video deposition, Google did not contest Netflix’s claims, with a Google spokesperson explaining that different rates are offered to different developers based on their needs and industry.
Netflix’s decision to decline Google’s offer may have been influenced by the fact that it had previously signed a special arrangement with Apple, sharing only 15 percent of its revenue on iOS. However, specific details regarding Spotify’s deal with Google were not revealed during the trial.
As the case continues, Google’s attorney attempted to deflect attention from the payment arrangement by highlighting that Netflix is available on various devices and can therefore afford to bypass the app store. Nevertheless, the revelation of Google’s special offer to Netflix has shed further light on the ongoing debate surrounding Google’s app store practices.
With this lawsuit serving as a critical examination of the tech industry’s app store policies, the outcome of the trial could have far-reaching implications for both Google and other major players in the digital marketplace. As more revelations come to light, industry experts and consumers alike are keeping a close eye on the proceedings, anticipating potential shifts in the app store landscape.
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