But once it monopolized the market for Android app distribution with Google Play by riding the coattails of the most popular app developers, Google sought to ban alternative in-app payment processing services so it could take a cut of nearly every in-app transaction on Android. Match’s lawsuit is the latest instance of app developers demanding relief from Google and Apple over the 30 percent standard cut — now, sometimes 15% — that those tech giants extract from in-app payments. Longstanding tensions around the issue boiled over in 2020 when Epic Games sued Apple for antitrust violations, a case that didn’t result in a clear-cut victor but did force Apple to allow developers to point their users to alternative payment options.
Tinder, Match, and OkCupid’s parent business is suing Google, arguing that the firm has too much influence over payments through its Google Play app store. The case, filed in California’s Northern District on Monday, accuses Google of using “anticompetitive methods” to retain its monopoly on the Android mobile ecosystem: Match Group was Google’s partner ten years ago. We are now its prisoner. Google enticed app developers to its platform by promising that we would give customers a choice in how they paid for the services they want.
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Facing pressure over its restrictive payment choices, Google recently launched a pilot program that would allow apps to offer an alternative payment option along with Google Play’s own system within apps. Spotify was the only company named as a participant in the pilot program, and Match claims that the company has rebuffed its own efforts to sign up. At the same time, Google announced plans to crack down on apps that circumvent its billing systems, setting a deadline of June 1. In light of the deadline, Match Group CEO Shar Dubey called the lawsuit a “measure of last resort” for the dating app company.
“They control app distribution on Android devices, and pretend that developers could successfully reach consumers on Android elsewhere,” Dubey said. “It’s like saying ‘you don’t have to take the elevator to get to the 60th floor of a building, you can always scale the outside wall.’ It’s not legitimate.”
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- Match Group has filed a lawsuit against Google for alleged monopoly power in Android app payments
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