MATCH GROUP FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST GOOGLE OVER ILLEGAL BILLING WARRANTS
The Match Group companies are seeking injunctive relief and other appropriate remedies for the material and irreparable harm that Google’s manipulation, broken promises, and abuse of power caused
DALLAS, May 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Match Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MTCH) companies, including those that operate the dating apps Tinder®, Match®, OkCupid® and several others (collectively, “Match Group”), sued today Google for its strategic manipulation of markets, broken promises and abuse of power by requiring Match Group to use Google’s billing system to remain in the Google Play Store. Google’s requirement will eliminate user choice on Match Group apps and increase costs to consumers by allowing Google to charge Match Group an arbitrary and discriminatory tax of 15% on all subscriptions and up to 30% on all other in-app purchases, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in inflated “fees”, while monetizing the personal data of billions of digital app users. Google has monopolized the Google Play Store and is now abusing its power.
“Ten years ago, Match Group was Google’s partner. We are now its hostage,” the lawsuit alleges. Google lured app developers like Match Group to its platform with the assurance that they could offer users the choice to pay for the goods and services they want. But once it monopolized the Android app distribution market with Google Play by overlapping the most popular app developers, Google sought to ban alternative in-app payment processing platforms in order to be able to reduce almost all in-app transactions on Android. , despite users choosing Tinder billing options over Google Play Billing most of the time. Google Play Billing prevents Match Group from providing its users with the best possible experience. And Google Play Billing is inferior, lacking the capabilities Match Group’s payment systems currently offer. (Read more about this HERE).
“Earlier this year, when Google touted the benefits of ‘user choice’, I hoped they would pave the way for a fairer Google Play Store. Unfortunately, their demand that we now remove user choice the user of our apps, something we’ve been offering for years and mandating their billing system which doesn’t have many of the features that our users are used to and depend on, can only mean that they don’t don’t really care if users are being harmed in their efforts to extract their unfair share of fees from developers like us, while regulators in the US are investigating this issue and regulators overseas are calling it illegal “, said Shar Dubey, CEO of Match Group, Inc. “They control the distribution of apps on Android devices and claim that developers could successfully reach consumers on Android elsewhere. That’s like saying ‘you don’t need to take the elevator to get to the 60th floor of a building, you can always scale the outer wall. It’s not legitimate. This trial is a measure of last resort. We have tried, in good faith, to resolve these issues with Google, but their insistence and threats to remove our branded apps from the Google Play Store by June 1 left us no choice but to take legal action.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Californiaclaims that Google violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, the California Cartwright Act, the California Unfair Competition Act, and California tort liability through its illegal mandate requiring certain app developers to exclusively use Google Play Billing to process payments.
The Google Play Store is essentially the only viable mobile application distribution channel on smart devices running the Android operating system. Over 90% of all Android app downloads happen through the Google Play Store. Google seeks to exert this dominance over app developers and users to force them to exclusively use Google Play Billing, which levies a tax of up to 30% on each transaction. Google describes this fee as a “fee”, although it is almost 10 times higher than the fees charged by payment processors in competitive markets.
Google, in trying to attract the best apps to Google Play, had previously assured Match Group that if it enabled in-app purchases in its dating apps on Android, Match Group could use its own payment systems. Google then baited and changed by announcing that it would begin requiring all apps that sell “digital goods and services” – a term it applies arbitrarily – to exclusively use Google Play Billing despite its previous assurances to the contrary. Match Group and other developers. If Match Group does not comply with the new policy in June 1, Google has threatened to remove Match Group apps from the Google Play Store. In fact, Google has already started rejecting updates to the Match Group app that didn’t remove long-existing alternative payment systems.
By insisting on the exclusive use of Google Play Billing, Google seeks to insert itself as an intermediary between users and developers, preventing Match Group from serving its customers directly on many important issues. If Google is allowed to enforce this warrant, Match Group would suffer irreparable damage to its customer relationships, reputation, business performance, and customer base, and its users would be harmed by price increases and the monetization of their data by Google.
Google has also been sued by a coalition of 37 state attorneys general seeking to prevent the same illegal behavior, and investigations have been conducted by the US House and Senate, the European Commission and government entities in India, France, Germany, JapanGreat Britain, Australiaand South Africa, with some litigation resulting in billions of dollars in fines. (Read more about this HERE).
About Match Group
Match Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MTCH), through its portfolio companies, is a leading provider of digital technologies designed to help people make meaningful connections. Our global brand portfolio includes Tinder®, Match®, Hinge®, Meetic®, OkCupid®, Pairs™, PlentyOfFish®, OurTime®, Azar®, Hakuna Live™, and more, each designed to increase the connection likelihood of our users with others. Through our trusted brands, we provide tailored services to meet the different preferences of our users. Our services are available in over 40 languages for our users around the world.
SOURCE Match Group