Amazon no longer offers music and audiobook purchases on Android

Photo credit: Waldemar Brandt

Amazon is making changes to its suite of apps that remove purchases of music, books, and audiobooks from Android devices. Here’s why.

This month, Amazon began notifying Kindle app users that the app was going to change. Users can no longer buy and rent ebooks or subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited service in the app. This change also applies to the Audible and Amazon Music Unlimited apps – so what’s changing?

Google operates a policy requiring all developers to process payments involving “digital goods and services” through the Play Store billing system. Amazon was one of the few third parties to be excepted from this rule, but not anymore. Rather than giving Google a commission for every song, book, or audiobook sold, Amazon completely removes the ability to purchase from within apps.

Android users who want to purchase books, music, or audiobooks will need to visit Amazon’s website in a browser to do so. Of course, Amazon isn’t the only company to stop offering digital sales to comply with Google’s new policy. Barnes & Noble has also removed direct purchase from the Android app.

The correspondence group has filed a complaint against Google in May over the guidelines, alleging they violated antitrust laws. Match Group says Google previously assured the company it could use its own payment processing systems. But the lawsuit claims Google threatened to remove its suite of dating apps from the Play Store if it didn’t meet the June 1 deadline. “Ten years ago, Match Group was Google’s partner. We are now his hostage,” the company’s complaint reads.

Google says Match Group is eligible to pay a 15% commission on in-app purchases. But the lawsuit comes at a time when Apple and Google are facing increasing regulatory pressure over their share of commission on in-app purchases.

In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Open App Markets Act. If the legislation becomes law, it will prevent Google and Apple from allowing companies to use their own payment processors. Meanwhile, Google is teaming up with Spotify to test third-party billing systems.

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