Google Stops Paid App Sales in Russia

Google won’t be offering paid apps or app updates for Russian users — but that’s not because the company wanted to exit the market, a report from Ars Technica said Monday (May 9).

A new support page, which was spotted by 9to5Google, says Google Play is “blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia starting May 5, 2022.”

Google says the blocking of paid apps is part of the tech giant’s “compliance efforts,” though after the big four credit card companies pulled out of Russia in March, Google could no longer offer paid apps.

The page says users won’t be able to buy apps and games, make subscription payments or buy anything in-app using Google Play. There will still be free apps available, and paid apps users already bought will be able to be downloaded and used . However, according to the page, subscriptions won’t be renewed and will be canceled.

Because Google is dealing with credit card processing, it will still be able to give payouts to Russian developers.

The report noted Google’s blog post about what it has been doing in Ukraine. However, its continuing business in Russia has made it an outlier among the other big tech companies. That led to Google being accused by Forbes of being “Putin’s Most Compliant US Tech Censor.”

Many companies, including the big four credit card companies, have exited Russia over its war in Ukraine.

See also: As Ad Biz Slows, Alphabet Looks to Google Pay and Shorts for Additional Revenue Tailwinds

PYMNTS wrote recently that Google has been seeing difficulties as of late with its shares, which were down 3% on April 27 when the report came out. That made it one of several big companies to be punished for falling short of expectations; for Google having to do with the inflation and the war in Ukraine.

PYMNTS wrote that Alphabet has been looking at digital payments in a more robust way, which means making Google Play “ubiquitous.”

CEO Sundar Pichai recently said, in a reply to a question on how payments can become a billion-user offering, that the company was “focused on making sure payments work well.”

“[O]ur payment strategy is very similar to the strategy we have for commerce overall. We want to make all of this work easier, both on the merchant and the financial institution side, and making sure they can connect with the customers well.”

He said that would mean making the service work as best it can for as many people as it can.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE TRUTH ABOUT BNPL AND STORE CARDS – APRIL 2022

About: Shoppers who have store cards use them for 87% of all eligible purchases — but this doesn’t mean retailers should boot buy now, pay later (BNPL) options from checkout. The Truth About BNPL And Store Cards, a PYMNTS and PayPal collaboration, surveys 2,161 consumers to find out why providing both BNPL and store cards are key to helping merchants maximize conversion.

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