Match Group, which makes dating apps Tinder and OkCupid, is suing Google over the Android app payment system. The first accuses the second of abuse of a dominant position.
A Match Group complaint against Google and payments on Android
“Google almost completely dominates and controls the Android application distribution market”explains Match Group in its press release titled End the Google Tax. “And he abused his power to the detriment of users and app developers in different ways”continues the group.
Match Group criticizes Google for taking advantage of its dominant position on smartphones to impose rules that it considers unfair, and that it cannot circumvent unless it gives up on the majority of its users.
The company decided to file a complaint because of a recent rule change. Until now, some of its applications offered an alternative payment system to that of the Play Store (the platform for downloading applications on Android). But this possibility will disappear, explain the lawyers. They are asking the court to force Google to let Match offer its alternative for payments in its applications and thus escape the 15 or 30% commission charged by Google on transactions.
If justice does not intervene, and if “Match Group is not complying with Google’s policy change, Google has made it clear that it will remove Match’s apps from Google Play”, worry the lawyers at the end of the complaint. They accuse Google of “threaten to sentence Match Group to death, a threat they carried out against another developer, Epic Games”. In this case, “more than a billion users of Android devices worldwide may no longer have access to Match Group applications”they detail.
In March, Google announced it was teaming up with Spotify to test third-party payment systems. Match affirms in particular that this test does not offer “nothing new for developers or users”. The company also said that Google rejected its request for inclusion in the program and would not share inclusion criteria.
Google has decided to respond to the Tinder publisher’s complaint:
It’s just a continuation of Match Group’s self-serving campaign to avoid paying for the significant value they receive from the mobile platforms they’ve built their business on. Like any business, we charge for our services, and like any responsible platform, we protect users from fraud and abuse in apps. Match Group is currently causing concern from regulators over issues such as deceptive subscription practices, and with this demand they continue to put money before user protection.
Match Group apps can only pay 15% on Google Play for digital subscriptions, which is the lowest rate among major app platforms. But even if they don’t want to abide by Google Play rules, Android’s openness still gives them multiple ways to distribute their apps to Android users, including through other app stores. Android, directly to users through their site or as consumer-only apps.