Match Group, the parent company of dating sites Tinder and Oak Cupid, filed a lawsuit against Google on Monday, accusing it of abusing its dominant mobile site, in the latest episode in the app publishers’ rebellion against the internet technology giants.
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The Match Group explains in its “End the Google Tax” press release.
The group specializing in dating apps continues: “He abused his power at the expense of users and app developers in various ways.”
Match Group criticizes Google for exploiting its dominant position on mobile phones to enforce rules it deems unfair and can only circumvent if it abandons the majority of its users.
The company decided to file a complaint due to the recent change in regulations: so far, some of its apps have offered an alternative payment system to the Play Store (a platform for downloading apps on Android).
But that possibility will disappear, lawyers made clear in documents filed Monday in a California court.
They’re asking the court to force Google to allow Match to offer its alternative to payments in its apps – thus evading the 15 or 30% commission Google charges on transactions.
A Google spokesperson said Match Group was “running a self-serve campaign to avoid paying the significant value it generates from the mobile platforms on which it has built its business.”
He said affected apps may only pay “a 15% commission on digital subscriptions, which is the lowest rate on the major platforms.”
Organizers are taking a closer look at Match Group due to potentially misleading subscription packages. With this complaint, they continue to invest money before protecting users,” a Google spokesperson said. “Like any company, our services are paid for, and like any responsible platform, we protect users from fraud and abuse in apps.”
If justice does not intervene, and if “Match Group does not comply with Google’s policy change, Google has indicated that it will remove Match apps from Google Play,” Match attorneys worried at the end of the complaint.
They accuse Google of “threatening to sentence the Match Group to death, a threat that has already been carried out against another developer, Epic Games”.
In this case, they explained, “More than one billion Android device users worldwide can no longer access Match Group apps.”
Google already allows users to download an app without going through its store, but the latter remains the preferred method for most of them.
Video game publisher Epic Games (Fortnite) was involved in a legal dispute against Google and Apple in the summer of 2020 for reasons similar to those cited by Match.
In November, a US federal judge ordered Apple to allow an alternative payment system within the App Store, but also ruled that Epic had failed to prove that Apple had violated antitrust law.
South Korea fined Google last September about $180 million for misusing its dominant position in the mobile app market.
Parliament has also passed a law requiring smartphone operating system operators, particularly Google and Apple, to allow app publishers to offer alternative payment systems.