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Tinder Parent Company Is Suing Google Over Play Store Billing

Google Play Store AM AH 2
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The developer of apps like Hinge and Tinder, Match Group, is suing Google in a California federal court. The company alleges that Google is violating state and federal antitrust laws through its Play Store guidelines.

More specifically, the lawsuit is in response to Google’s proposed policy change which will come into effect on June 1, 2022. This policy change would require all developers in the Android ecosystem to process payments for their “digital goods and services” via the Play Store billing system.

This shift was quite unpopular when it was first announced. In response, Google delayed its implementation from September 30, 2021, to June 1, 2022. According to the lawsuit, Google previously promised Match that it could use its own payments system. However, Match has reportedly received a warning to adhere to the new policy change or risk removal of its apps.

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Match Group claims this lawsuit “is a measure of last resort”

Furthermore, Match alleges that Google also rejected app updates that kept the existing payment methods. “Ten years ago, Match Group was Google’s partner. We are now its hostage,” the company said in the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit is a measure of last resort. We tried, in good faith, to resolve these concerns with Google, but their insistence and threats to remove our brands’ apps from the Google Play Store by June 1st has left us no choice but to take legal action,” CEO of Match Group, Shar Dubey, told Engadget.

Google defended its policy revision in a statement to Engadget, claiming that Match is only liable to pay a 15% commission on in-app purchases. A company spokesperson told the site that this is the lowest compared to other “major app platforms.”

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“This is just a continuation of Match Group’s self-interested campaign to avoid paying for the significant value they receive from the mobile platforms they’ve built their business on,” the spokesperson added. Additionally, Google pointed toward the “openness” of Android, which permits developers to distribute apps through unconventional means, such as APK sideloading.

It’s clear that the pressure is mounting on major app hubs such as the Play Store and Apple’s App Store. In March, the company said it is testing a third-party billing system with Spotify. However, Match Group claims that Google rejected its request to join the testing program.