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Match Group sues Google over ‘monopoly power’ in Android app payments – TechCrunch

The parent company of dating apps Tinder, Match and OkCupid is suing Google, alleging the company exercises too much control over payments through its app marketplace, Google Play.

That legal actionfiled Monday in California’s Northern District, accusing the company of using “anti-competitive tactics” to maintain a monopoly on the Android mobile ecosystem:

“Ten years ago Match Group was a partner of Google. We are now his hostage. Google lured app developers onto its platform with assurances that we could offer users a choice in how they pay for the services they want.

But after monopolizing the market for distributing Android apps with Google Play, riding on the coattails of the most popular app developers, Google tried to ban alternative in-app payment processing services to process almost every in-app transaction to shorten on Android.”

Match’s lawsuit is the latest case by app developers seeking exoneration from Google and Apple over the 30 percent standard cut — now, sometimes 15 percent – which these 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 winner but forced Apple to allow developers to do so point their users to alternative payment options.

Faced with pressure from its restrictive payment options, 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 the company dismissed its own efforts to sign up.

At the same time, Google announced plans to crack down on apps that bypass its billing systems, setting a June 1 deadline. Given the deadline, Match Group CEO Shar Dubey called the lawsuit a “last resort” for the dating app company.

“They control app distribution on Android devices and pretend that developers can 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 climb the outside wall.’ It’s not legitimate.”

In a statement to TechCrunch, Google dismissed the new Match lawsuit as a “self-serving campaign” to avoid paying its fair share. “…Even if they don’t want to comply with Google Play’s policies, the openness of Android still gives them multiple ways to distribute their apps to Android users, including through other Android app stores, directly to users through their website, or as pure consumer apps,” said a Google spokesman.

Match Group is a member of Coalition for App Fairness, a developer advocacy group, which draws attention to how the dominance of Apple and Google in the mobile software market is negatively impacting app developers. Epic Games, Spotify, and Tile are other prominent members of the group, which formed around the time of Epic in 2020 escalated his own grievances.

Developers fed up with paying Apple and Google such a hefty cut in their in-app revenue are increasing the pressure on those companies, but governments around the world are also taking an interest in the issue.

In the USA, the bipartisan Open Market Act would break up both the iOS and Android app stores, breaking Apple and Google’s shared stranglehold on the world of mobile software in the process. Passed by a Senate committee earlier this year, this bill appears poised to continue the slow road to law.

Last week, a competition complaint in the Netherlands against Google’s Play Store sparked Match Group preliminary examination into the Company’s potential anti-competitive practices. This country is Authority for Consumers and Markets is also at odds with Apple over its own app payment processes, and the regulator has ordered the company to allow dating apps to offer alternative payment options.

Match Group sues Google over ‘monopoly power’ in Android app payments – TechCrunch Source link Match Group sues Google over ‘monopoly power’ in Android app payments – TechCrunch

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