We offer Android, our open-source operating system, to device makers and carriers for free. This lowers the cost consumers pay for mobile devices. The Android model has created more choice for phone makers, app developers and billions of consumers who can now afford and use an array of cutting-edge smartphones available at every price point, including some as low as $50, which has made computing accessible to communities that had not been well-served by technology platforms in the past.
Choice has always been a core tenet of Android, and it’s why consumers have always had control over which apps they use — including their keyboard, messaging app and phone system.
The same is true of app stores: Android has always allowed people to choose which app store to use, or even use multiple different stores. In fact, most Android devices come preloaded with two or more app stores right out of the box, and consumers can install additional app stores if they’d like to. Developers can also negotiate directly with device makers or carriers to preload their apps on Android devices and consumers can download apps outside of app stores. This flexibility and choice is available only on Android.
Google Play, our online store on Android, is just one of many app stores Android users can use. This openness means that even if a developer chooses not to distribute through Google Play, they still have many other ways to distribute their apps to Android consumers.
If a developer chooses to distribute their app on Google Play, they can access a vast array of tools and services to help them build their businesses. This includes not only basic services like payment processing, but powerful resources like Play’s app development and optimization tools, discovery options and distribution capabilities for free. Like many other digital content platforms, we charge a service fee only when a developer sells in-app digital goods or services, which supports our investments in Google Play and Android. Google Play’s service fees are the lowest among major app stores, with 99% of developers globally qualifying for a fee of 15% or less. Because the service fee is only charged when developers charge consumers, Google only makes money when developers make money, thereby aligning our business interests with theirs.
This approach gives consumers a trusted system that allows them to safely, securely and seamlessly buy from developers worldwide. It helps us protect consumers’ payment info with multiple layers of security, using one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures. And importantly, it enables us to keep investing in Google Play and Android, allowing it to flourish as a platform with more than 2.5 billion monthly active users. Building on Android’s long history of continuously evolving to provide users and developers more flexibility and choice, we are also exploring expanded billing options on Google Play through our user choice billing pilot.
If a developer prefers not to distribute through Google Play, they can still distribute on Android through any number of competing app stores or directly to consumers — and many do.
Developers are also free to communicate with their customers outside of Google Play via email or other channels to inform them of other purchase options and lower cost alternatives, process refunds or provide customer support directly.