Bulletins

Match Group accuses Google of holding it 'hostage'

Match claims Google has "illegally monopolized" the app market for Android.

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Match claims Google has "illegally monopolized" the app market for Android.

Photo: Kai Wenzel/Unsplash

In yet another shot across the bow in the App Store billing wars, Match Group is suing Google over its Google Play Store billing requirements for app developers.


In a complaint filed Monday, Match alleged that Google has "illegally monopolized" the app market for Android with its Play Store policy, which requires app developers use the company's billing system, then takes a cut of the revenue.

“Ten years ago, Match Group was Google’s partner. We are now its hostage,” Match Group said in the complaint. “Blinded by the possibility of getting an ever-greater cut of the billions of dollars users spend each year on Android apps, Google set out to monopolize the market for how users pay for their Android apps.”

Google first required developers to use its billing system for all apps selling digital goods in 2020, allowing the company to take a 30% commission from every purchase. But after massive backlash, Google cut this percentage to 15% for the first $1 million a developer makes. It cut its commission percentage for subscriptions, ebooks and music streaming services in October to between 10% and 15% as well.

After pressure from developers, Google announced in March that it would allow Spotify to test out its third-party billing options for app developers. Match Group, which owns Tinder and OkCupid, wants in on that new billing system, but was rebuffed by Google. (The Spotify pilot is still just a pilot.)

"Once (Google) 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," the complaint reads.

Google fired back in a statement on Monday evening. The company said it charges for services "like any business" and said Match is putting "money ahead of user protection." Google said Match is eligible to pay its 15% fee on the Google Play store, which it said is the "lowest rate among major app platforms."

"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," a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

The complaint comes amidst increasing scrutiny of Android and Apple by developers and government agencies for their high fees. The U.S. is pushing for its own regulation of smartphone app stores through the Open App Markets Act, which aims to limit Apple and Google's monopoly over app billing. The complaint alleges anti-competitive behavior similar to the reason Epic sued Apple in 2020.

This story was updated to include a statement from Google.

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