Google 'refutes' claims made by Epic Games

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Google 'refutes' claims made by Epic Games

Also dismisses criticism from RBA and the Australian Banking Association.

Google has refuted claims from Epic Games, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Banking Association of alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the way it sells apps and prices commissions.

Google fronted a joint standing committee on Monday to discuss its position on mobile payments and digital wallets within the financial services sector.

During the inquiry, Labor Senator Deborah O'Neill questioned Google about various remarks alleging anti-competitive behaviour by the tech giant.

In a submission to the inquiry, Epic Games - which is suing Google Australia - stated the 30 percent commission that Apple and Google receive on purchases for in‐app content is around 10 times higher than fees charged through other platforms. 

Epic Games branded Google’s 30 percent commission to use its payment services a "supra-competitive price".

Director of government affairs and public policy for Australia and New Zealand Lucinda Longcroft said Google “strongly refute the claims made by Epic" Games in its submission.

She added that Google would not comment further given the ongoing litigation.

Senator O'Neill also asked for clarification around remarks made by the RBA and the ABA in their submissions - that Google lacked transparency around its fees and charges.

The RBA wrote “there is a lack of transparency in relation to the fees and other arrangements associated with digital wallets” and that the central bank “is consulting on a number of initiatives to improve transparency in the payments system”. 

ABA, meanwhile, stated, “Apple and Google’s significant market share raises a number of policy questions, relating to competition and access, data and privacy, regulation of payments providers and consistency of the application of regulation.” 

ABA added it “believes there is merit in enforcing greater transparency and oversight of the terms and conditions of access to mobile devices … to enhance competition and foster innovation.”

Longcroft said “the issue or the claim that we are not transparent in the [fee] data is wrong.”

“Certainly when I speak to Google Play, the app marketplace, our fee data is transparent. In fact, 90 percent of app developers on Google Pay no fee," she said.

“There's only about three percent of apps that charge for digital content, which we charge a fee [on], and the fee structure is based on a revenue model and it is entirely transparent.

“The 2500-odd developers in Australia who make their apps available for a charge on the Google Play Store, 99 percent of them are charged a 15 percent fee structure. Less than one percent are charged a 30 percent fee structure and that is comparable or less than all other competitors vigorously competitive market rates.

“We do not prevent app developers from distributing their apps via alternate channels.”

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