Match Group, the company that owns popular dating services Tinder and OkCupid, has sued Google for allegedly violating U.S. antitrust laws with its Play Store billing policies. Tinder and OkCupid are two of the biggest and most popular dating apps in the world alongside the likes of Bumble, Plenty of Fish, and eHarmony. Match Group also owns Match.com, a dating website that has been around since the mid-nineties – long before online dating became mainstream. The company also recently launched a new dating app called Stir, specifically for single parents.
Google has been sued on numerous occasions for alleged monopolistic trade practices, and some of those cases relate to the company’s Play Store operations. Most notably, the company was sued in August 2020 by Epic Games for restricting developers from offering third-party in-app payment solutions. Epic also sued Apple on the same day for very similar reasons in a case that captured the imagination of the global media. While a judge has since ruled against Epic on nine out of 10 counts, the case against Google will go to trial next year.
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Match Group has sued Google for allegedly breaking antitrust laws by forcing third-party app developers to use its own Play Store payment system instead of allowing them to offer alternatives. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, alleges that this restriction takes away user choice and helps Google maintain its monopoly over the Android ecosystem. In a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit, Match Group accused Google of holding app developers “hostage” to its monopolistic practices and claimed that the search giant is acting against the interests of consumers and app developers, by attempting to “take a cut of nearly every in-app transaction on Android.”
Google Denies Antitrust Violation
In a statement provided to The New York Times, Google spokesman Peter Schottenfels denied all allegations and said that the company only charges a 15 percent commission on in-app purchases as a service. He also claimed that the rate is the lowest among major app platforms, and said that the lawsuit is part of Match Group’s plan to avoid paying for the “significant value they receive from the mobile platforms they’ve built their business on.”
Match and other third-party developers have long had the freedom to use alternative payment systems on Android, but Google changed its policy in 2021 to require developers to use its own payment system. While the company has a separate arrangement with Spotify that allows the music streaming service to use its own payment platform, that arrangement is not yet available to most developers, despite Google’s assurances to expand the program.