Match Group (MTCH), the company behind dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com filed a lawsuit against Google on Monday, alleging that the search giant has an illegal monopoly in the Google Play Store. The lawsuit also said that the in-app payment policies, including some of its 30 percent cut of some in-app purchases, are anti-competitive.
This lawsuit is the latest anti-trust complaint against Google following years of scrutiny over its business practices. The suit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California and alleges that not only does the search engine have a monopoly on the distribution of Android apps, but it coerces app makers to accept contract language that makes them use Google’s in-app payment technology. The app makers are also forced to pay fees to Google.
Match Group said in a statement, “These exorbitant ‘fees’ force developers to charge users more for their services and utilize resources they would otherwise invest in our employees, technologies, and user-requested features. In addition, monopolizing the market for in-app payments will further cement Google’s near-total control of the Android ecosystem.”
Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said in a statement that the complaint was a “measure of last resort,” adding that the search giant had informed Match that its apps would be removed from the Google Play Store in June unless Match agrees with the 2020 rule that apps must exclusively use Google’s in-app payment processing.
Responding to a lawsuit, Google put out a blog post on Monday that the Match Group is simply trying to avoid paying for the Google services as part of the program.
The search giant said that most of of the apps on Play Store do not pay any fees but the apps of Match Group belong to that 3 percent, which pay for their services. Google also said that the Match Group had enough time to adjust to the changes the search giant announced in 2020.
Wilson White, Google’s VP of government affairs and public policy, said in a statement, “As a platform, we’re always looking to work in good faith with partners to grow and evolve the ecosystem, but we’ll stand firm against false attacks on our business, especially when it puts users at risk and endangers our ability to continue investing in and serving our developer community.”
Major tech companies like Apple and Google reduced some of the app store fees they charge in recent years, amid rising complaints from app developers and policymakers. This year, for example, Google reduced its fees on in-app subscriptions from 30 percent to 15 percent.
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