Tinder parent company takes Google to court


Match Group, the company that oversees Tinder and OkCupid, among others, accuses the technology giant Google for the commission policy it applies in its Play Store for Android.

According to Match Group, Google is abusing its dominant position to force app developers to use the Android payment system. Google takes a commission on all payments made with this system. Also according to Match Group, Google has with its Play Store “an illegal monopoly on the distribution of apps” for Android, and this would violate American antitrust law.

The lawsuit is part of a bigger picture, where all sorts of app developers are pressuring Google and Apple over their payment policies in the App Store and Play Store respectively. On Android and iOS operating systems, it is quite possible to download apps through a channel other than that of the official app stores, but Apple and Google charge a percentage (up to thirty percent) on every transaction made there, even if later purchases are made ‘in app’.

The game publisher Epic Games had entered into litigation with Apple and Google two years ago over these commissions, as part of a series of still ongoing lawsuits. Then, several countries, including South Korea and Japan, came out with new laws in this area. As for the European Commission and some American parties, they began an antitrust investigation.

Google has since reduced its commission from 30% to 15% on most apps. Offering alternative payment methods is a sensitive subject, however. As part of a rather fractious reaction to this case, Google announces via its blog that the commissions are necessary, because they also support other Google Play services. According to Google, the system that Match Group intends to implement is not secure either.

However, there is a real chance that an alternative will present itself. Google already allows some apps, including Spotify, to offer their own payment system as an option to theirs. And in the Netherlands, after an investigation, the Autoriteit voor Consument en Markt forced Apple to offer alternative payment methods for dating apps.

According to Match Group, Google is abusing its dominant position to force app developers to use the Android payment system. Google takes a commission on all payments made with this system. Also according to Match Group, Google has with its Play Store ‘an illegal monopoly on the distribution of apps’ for Android, and this would violate American antitrust law. The lawsuit is part of a larger framework, where all kinds of app developers are putting pressure on Google and Apple because of their payment policy in App Store and Play Store respectively. On Android and iOS operating systems, it is quite possible to download apps through a channel other than that of the official app stores, but Apple and Google charge a percentage (up to thirty percent) on each transaction that is carried out there, even if afterwards, purchases are executed ‘in app’. The game publisher Epic Games entered into litigation with Apple and Google two years ago about these commissions and this, in a series of ongoing trials. Then, several countries, including South Korea and Japan, came out with new laws in this area. As for the European Commission and some American parties, they began an antitrust investigation. Google has since reduced the amount of its commission from 30 to 15% on most apps. Offering alternative payment methods is a sensitive subject, however. As part of a rather fractious reaction to this case, Google announces via its blog that the commissions are necessary, because they also support other Google Play services. According to Google, the system that Match Group intends to implement is also not secure. However, there is a real chance that an alternative presents itself. Google already allows some apps, including Spotify, to offer their own payment system as an option to theirs. And in the Netherlands, after an investigation, the Autoriteit voor Consument en Markt forced Apple to offer alternative payment methods for dating apps.

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