Another Epic-style legal epoch in the works
Earlier this month, Match Group, the company behind dating services Match, Hinge, Tinder, and OKCupid, filed a court complaint against Google, joining numerous other app publishers alleging that the company abuses monopoly power by forcing them to use the Play Store’s billing program – and accept divvying away up to 30% of their revenues – in order to be listed on the platform. This week marked a temporary settlement between the parties, but it may only set in place a holding pattern preceding a trial.
The antitrust complaint (obtained by Court Listener, via The Verge) details Match’s numerous communications with Google about whether it could use its own billing program, which the group says is “better for consumers and Match Group” (no, duh) by allowing direct debit options among other features, as opposed to the Play Store which does not. It notes that other app publishers – Epic Games chief among them and tailing similar actions from Bandcamp – have come toe-to-toe with Google over payments and that its ongoing pilot program exempting certain publishers from Play Billing shows that the company is “playing favorites . “
Match followed up the complaint by requesting a preliminary injunction to keep Google from removing its apps from the Play Store and forcing them to exclusively use Play Billing. This week, the companies settled (Court Listener), binding Google to those terms and ensuring that it develops billing features “important to Match.” Match, on the other hand, will need to prepare a $ 40 million escrow and account for Google’s would-be share from the revenue generated on its own billing system. The fate of that money will be determined pending judgment or later settlement. All of Match’s apps will also need to adopt Play Billing in addition to Match’s in-house system. In dueling press releases, Match stated that Google has made major concessions with the agreement in cooperating to develop its billing features while Google said it will countersue Match for violating its Developer Distribution Agreement.
A trial is set for April 2023.
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