Amazon removes in-app digital purchases to avoid the Google tax

Amazon app on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 with a Kindle Oasis in the background
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google's latest Play Store policy changes are claiming another victim today, this time in the form of digital purchases in the Amazon app. Folks who enjoy purchasing Kindle books, digital music, or even movies or shows on Prime Video will now have to use their computers, Kindles, or a web browser to do the job.

Physical goods can still be purchased from the Amazon app on Android, so this change doesn't render the app entirely useless. You'll also still be able to watch any purchased Prime Video, Kindle, or Amazon Music content through the appropriate apps. You just won't be able to buy any new digital media through the Amazon app.

This information comes from a BBC report (via XDA-Developers) that explains Amazon's reasoning behind the move was to avoid the newly-imposed 30% fee on all digital purchases made through the Google Play Store. Previously, companies could use their own billing systems to avoid the fee Google imposes on purchases, but the new policy says that companies who make over $1 million annually must use Google Play billing for in-app digital purchases.

Amazon made the same change in the Apple iOS app a while back for the same reason. This follows news of several other apps pulling digital purchases from their virtual shelves because of the change. Just last week, we saw that the Bandcamp app could even be removed from the Play Store if it doesn't change over to Google Play billing by the end of the month.

While Google's Play Store changes are causing all sorts of issues with big-name apps that people use every day, Google says the change was imposed to help Android users pay for digital purchases more easily. Google Play gift cards can be used on all digital purchases made through the Play Store and could have been a great way to buy Kindle books or albums on Bandcamp if the app makers played ball. On the flip side, it would mean that these companies would all of a sudden experience a notable drop in revenue were they to impose the changes.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu