Google is being sued over Android’s in-app payment monopoly

May 10, 2022
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In a new complaint filed by Match Group, the owners of dating apps such as Tinder, Match, and OKCupid, Google is claimed to have “illegally monopolized the market for distributing apps on Android,” thanks to the Play Store. 

Filed in California’s Northern District on Monday, the Match Group’s new lawsuit alleges that Google has built its monopoly over the Android marketplace through plenty of “platitudes and promises” about the freedom and flexibility of its open ecosystem alongside plenty of anti-competitive tactics that make sure the Play Store is the only viable choice for developers. 

Having established the monopoly on app distribution on Android, the lawsuit claims that Google is now seeking to eliminate user choice of payment services, allowing the tech giant to raise prices on consumers and extend its dominance to the market for in-app purchases on Android as well. 

Similar to the recent Epic Games VS Apple lawsuit, which saw Fortnite stricken from the App Store, Match Group is primarily upset about this monopoly because it sees Google taking “as much as 30%” of payments made via the Play Store for itself. 

While last year Google decided to cut the percentage they were taking from some apps, specifically only taking 15% from the first $1 million a developer makes and even less on music streaming and subscriptions, this hasn’t done enough to sate Match Group’s appetite for profit as instead they now see it as even more of a bait and switch. 

“Ten years ago, Match Group was Google’s partner. We are now its hostage. Google lured app developers to its platform with assurances that we could offer users a choice over how to pay for the services they want.

But once it 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.”

In a statement made to media, via The Verge, Google spokesperson Dan Jackson claimed that Match Group is essentially throwing its toys out of the pram, as the company’s plethora of dating apps are already eligible to pay just 15% on subscriptions, which is allegedly “the lowest rate among major app platforms.”

Alongside this, Jackson also notes that while the Play Store may be the place to be, “Android’s openness still provides them multiple ways of distributing their apps to Android users, including through other Android app stores, directly to users via their website or as consumption-only apps.”

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