Match Group, the company behind popular dating apps like Tinder, Match and OkCupid, is suing Google over its restrictive billing rules in the Play Store. In his complaintMatch Group claims that Google “illegally monopolizes the app distribution market” on Android by forcing apps to use Google’s own billing system and then accept payments.

Match Group’s lawsuit reflects an earlier lawsuit filed by Epic Games against Apple in 2020, alleging that Apple was involved in “anti-competitive” behavior by asking for a 30 percent commission on in-app purchases on the iOS App Store. , among other charges. Although the final decision was mixed, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers was particularly skeptical of the claims for a payment monopoly, saying that Apple has the right to license its intellectual property for a fee and that it “achieves this goal in the easiest and most direct way.” its payment system.

Although Google says it has always required certain types of payments in the app to be made through its billing service, the company made it clear in 2020 that he wants everything applications selling digital goods to use their billing system. This, of course, allows Google to collect up to 30 percent commission. However, Google cut that percentage to 15 percent for the first $ 1 million the developer made in March 2021, and later did the same for music streaming apps and subscriptions last October. However, Match Group accuses Google of using “lure and switching tactics” to allegedly mislead developers about its payment policies.

“Google has lured application developers to its platform with the assurance that we can offer users a choice of how to pay for the services they want,” the Match Group’s complaint said. “But after monopolizing the Android app distribution market with Google Play, taking advantage of the most popular app developers, Google tried to ban alternative payment processing services in the app so it could reduce almost every transaction in the Android app. ”

Match Group further claims that Google wants to impose a so-called “tax” on the app store, which it says comes out of the pockets of consumers in the form of higher prices and revenue that app developers would and should earn He also claims that Google also benefits from “monopolizing the in-app payment processing market” by allowing the company to access users’ credit card information and identities. which you can use to your advantage.

Match Group is part of the Coalition for the Fairness of Applications, a group of companies that also includes Spotify and Tile, among others. It aims to fight policies it considers anti-competitive, such as a policy by both Apple and Google that prohibits developers from using third-party payment processors. In March, Google announced that it would begin testing a way for Android developers to use their own payment systems, starting with Spotify. However, it is unclear whether Google will still charge a commission on these sales and, if so, how much it will charge.

Google responded to the Match Group’s complaint in a post on his public policy blog, claiming that Match Group was “trying to unleash” Google’s investments “instead of being a responsible partner”. Google spokesman Dan Jackson made the following statement to On the edge on the complaint:

This is just a continuation of Match Group’s personal campaign to avoid paying for the significant value they receive from the mobile platforms on which they have built their business. Like any business, we charge for our services and like any responsible platform, we protect users from fraud and abuse in applications. Match Group is currently attracting regulatory concerns over things like fraudulent subscription practices and with this submission they continue to put money in front of consumer protection.

Match Group apps qualify to pay only 15% on Google Play for digital subscriptions, the lowest rate among major app platforms. But even if they don’t want to follow Google Play rules, Android’s openness still gives them many ways to distribute their apps to Android users, including through other Android app stores, directly to users through their website, or as apps. for consumption only.

The Match Group’s complaint comes as Apple and Google face scrutiny from companies and government agencies around the world. U.S. lawmakers are addressing the issue of in-app payments with the Open App Markets, part of legislation passed by the Senate Judiciary Commission in February. If signed by law, it will allow developers to use their own billing systems, as well as change other potential anti-competitive behavior led by Apple and Google, such as punishing a developer to offer their app at a better price elsewhere.

Outside the United States, South Korea passed a bill last August requiring Apple and Google to allow developers to use other billing services in their applications. In addition, the Netherlands is still fighting a seemingly endless legal battle with Apple over its policies that block third-party payment processors for Dutch dating apps.

Updated May 9, 7:47 PM ET: Updated to add a statement from a Google spokesperson.

Updated May 10, 8:13 AM ET: Updated to add Google’s response to your public policy blog.

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