Match Group sues Google over Android’s in-app payment monopoly

Match Group, the company behind popular dating apps such as Tinder, Match and OkCupid, is suing Google over its restrictive Play Store billing policies. In its complaint, Match Group claims that Google “unlawfully monopolized the app distribution market” on Android by forcing apps to use Google’s own billing system and then taking a pay cut.

Match Group Complaint Plays Off Earlier Lawsuit Epic Games filed a complaint against Apple in 2020, alleging Apple engaged in “anti-competitive” behavior by demanding a 30% commission on in-app purchases iOS store, among other costs. Although the final decision was mixed, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers was particularly skeptical of the monopoly payment claims, saying that Apple has the right to license its intellectual property for a fee and that it “achieves that objective in the simplest and most direct way” with its payment system.

While Google says it has always required certain types of in-app payments to be made through its billing service, the company made it clear in 2020 that it wants everything apps selling digital goods to use its billing system. This, of course, allows Google to collect up to a 30% commission. Google, however, reduced that percentage to 15% for the first $1 million a developer made in March 2021 and then did the same for music streaming apps and subscriptions last October. Despite this, Match Group accuses Google of employing “bait and switch tactics” for allegedly misleading developers about its payment policies.

“Google lured app developers to its platform with the assurance that we could offer users a choice about how to pay for the services they want,” the Match Group complaint reads. . “But once it monopolized the Android app delivery market with Google Play by riding the hitches of the most popular app developers, Google sought to ban alternative payment processing services in the app so you can take a share of almost all in-app transactions on Android. »

Match Group further claims that Google wants to impose a so-called App Store “tax” which it says “comes out of consumers’ pockets in the form of higher prices and revenue that app developers would earn and should otherwise earn for the sale of their services”. He also claims that Google also benefits from “monopolizing the in-app payment processing market” because it allows the company to get hold of credit card information and user identities that it can use. to his advantage. Google did not immediately respond to The rodof the request for comments.

Match Group is part of the Coalition of App Fairness, a group of companies that also includes Spotify and Tile, among others. Its goal is to fight policies it deems anti-competitive, such as Apple and Google’s rule that prohibits developers from using third-party payment processors. In March, Google announced it would start testing a way for Android developers to use their own payment systems, starting with Spotify. However, it is unclear whether Google will still take a commission from these sales and, if so, how much it will charge.

Match Group’s complaint comes as Apple and Google face intense scrutiny from companies and government agencies around the world. US lawmakers are tackling the problem of in-app payments with the Open App Markets app, a bill the Senate Judiciary Committee passed in February. If enacted, it will allow developers to use their own billing systems, as well as change other potentially anti-competitive behavior by Apple and Google, such as punishing a developer for offering their app at a better price. somewhere else.

Outside the United States, South Korea passed a bill last August that requires Apple and Google to allow developers to use other billing services on their apps. Additionally, the Netherlands is still locked in a never-ending legal battle with Apple over its policies that block third-party payment processors for Dutch dating apps.

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