Bulletins

Google compromise allows some Android apps to use their own payment systems

Match Group and Epic Games' Bandcamp can get around Google's billing policy — for now.

The Google Play store.

The App Store billing wars continue.

Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

Google is allowing some Android apps to use their own payment systems after getting into battles with both Match Group and Epic Games' Bandcamp, but the move might be temporary. The company is facing legal action for requiring apps in the Google Play Store to use its billing, and the interim solution Google came up with is to let those apps use their own payments — with a catch.


Match Group withdrew its temporary restraining order against Google on Friday, according to TechCrunch, which it had filed amid its antitrust lawsuit against the company. Match eked out some “concessions” from Google, including making sure its apps would not be ousted from the Play Store for using alternative payment options, TechCrunch reported. Rather than pay Google, Match is putting aside $40 million in an escrow account, maintaining that the fees are illegal and awaiting a judge's ruling.

The lawsuit, which alleges that Google has "illegally monopolized" the app market for Android with its Play Store policy, is still ongoing. Google's Play Store policy requires app developers use the company's billing system, then takes a cut of the revenue. In the original complaint, Match claimed Google holding it "hostage,” while Google responded that it charges for services "like any business," and that its commission is the "lowest rate among major app platforms."

“We plan to rebut Match’s unfounded complaint and will be counter-suing for damages and breach of our developer contract," a Google spokesperson told Protocol. "Match has agreed to put up to $40 million in escrow as a reserve against damages and to work to integrate Google Play’s billing system.”

Google also settled its differences with Epic Games on Friday, and won't kick Epic subsidiary Bandcamp off of Google Play Store for using its own payment system, Music Business Worldwide reported. Under the agreement, Bandcamp will also start an escrow account for Google's fees, setting aside 10% of its revenue generated from digital sales until Epic’s case against Google is resolved, the company said in a blog post.

Epic acquired online music platform Bandcamp, which has used its own billing system on Android since 2015, in March. Bandcamp was threatened with being booted from the Google Play Store if it didn't begin using Google's proprietary billing system by June 1. Bandcamp was able to use its own system for so long because Google has an exemption from its billing rule for digital music companies, according to the blog post.

"We’ll continue to defend our business against Epic’s campaign to not pay for the value they get from Google Play," the Google spokesperson said. "Epic has now agreed to pay a standard 10% service fee into escrow as a reserve against potential damages.”

Epic, parent company of Fortnite, sued Apple for similar anti-competitive behavior.

This story was updated May 20, 2022, with comments from a Google spokesperson.

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