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 pointed at by the tech-focused website says Google Play is “blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia starting May 5, 2022.” Google has said that 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 following their invasion of Ukraine, 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. Google is dealing with credit card processing, meaning it is expected to 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 U.S. Tech Censor.”
Google’s activities in Russia have caused much friction with authorities in the context of the Ukraine war, with the country criticizing and accusing the company’s YouTube video-sharing platform, which has shut out Russian state-funded media globally, of becoming “one of the key platforms spreading fakes (fake images) about the course of (Russia’s) special military operation on the territory of Ukraine…”
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