Google OnePass Payment System to Compete with Apple

By [Thursday, February 17th, 2011] at 4:57 pm

Amir Efrati et al., Google Elbows Apple, Woos Publishers, Wall St. Journal, Feb. 17, 2011:

Google’s new One Pass service allows consumers to use one account to pay for access to multiple publications on the Web and across a range of mobile devices.

The move comes one day after Apple laid out a subscription service for content sold through its iPhone and iPad devices, an offering that some publishers greeted skeptically. Apple would take a 30% cut on sales of subscriptions in its iTunes App Store. …

On the websites of publishers participating in Google One Pass, readers who wish to pay for content will be prompted to sign up through Google Checkout, the Internet company’s online payment service.

Customers can then make payments on the websites of any participating publisher as long as they are signed in to their Google accounts. The system can be used to view individual articles or for subscriptions and other payment plans.

The system also lets publishers sell subscriptions for their mobile applications, including on devices powered by Google’s Android software, but it likely won’t be allowed on apps for the iPad or iPhone due to Apple’s new rules. Google’s hope is that publishers will opt to use its technology and payment system rather than handle such tasks themselves.

I would note three key differences between the Google and Apple approaches:

  • Google’s cut is smaller: 10% instead of 30%.
  • Google isn’t insisting on most-favored-nation prices, the way Apple is.
  • Google will share customer information with publishers; Apple won’t.
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