Google has responded to an antitrust lawsuit against dating app maker Match Group with a sharp new lawsuit alleging Initial match complaint as a “cynical attempt” to take advantage of the Google Play distribution platform and other tools in an attempt to bypass Google’s fees.
Two tech giants squabble in court after Match sued Google in May of this year due to its alleged monopoly power in Android app payments.
Match, which operates dating apps including Tinder, Match, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Hinge and others, claims that Google controls the Google Play app market too much and uses anti-competitive tactics to maintain its influence in the ecosystem. The app maker is one of many major publishers, along with Epic Games and Spotify, that have sought relief from Google’s service fees. Epic Games is also suing Apple and Google. Companies generally want to offer their own in-app payment systems instead of being forced to use Google’s own payment infrastructure and want to avoid the fees associated with distributing their apps through the Google Play store.
Earlier this year, Google and Match came to a compromise about how they will act while the trial is going on. Match said Google has given assurances that it will not ban or block its dating apps from Google Play for offering alternative payments, and Match will set aside up to $40 million in an escrow account in lieu of paying Google’s fees until a judge determines the outcome of the case.
Now, Google has filed a counterclaim in this ongoing lawsuit alleging that Match is misleading the court by saying that Google is simply providing payment processing fees to apps distributed on its platform.
While the Match Group claims that Google Play only provides payment processing, this is simply not true. Google Play provides the tools and global distribution platform that have allowed the Match Group to thrive and build a successful user network, which is critical to its dating apps. The Match Group is now looking to gain access to Google Play’s global distribution platform and users, and leverage Google’s significant investment in the platform, all for free.
Google continues to tout the discovery capabilities made possible by the Play Store and the tools it makes available to developers, including free software that allows developers to build apps, testing and monitoring tools, and digital payment infrastructure. Additionally, Google claims that its 15 percent Match Group subscription fee is “half the amount” charged by other major platforms – a reference apparently to Apple but is misleading as both platforms cut fees from 30% to 15% for the second year of the application.
The answer also points out that there are other ways to download apps on Android phones, as opposed to iOS, which restricts the download of unpublished apps.
Google also strikes a few key blows – noting, for example, that a senior vice president of Match Group once acknowledged that Match’s real problem with Google Play’s billing system is “the ease with which users can cancel their subscriptions” using Google’s tools.
This particular lawsuit is reminiscent of an earlier lawsuit against Match filed by government regulators. In 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued for cheating. Among other things, it stated that the company had made it difficult for consumers to cancel their subscription and would use tricks that would make consumers think they had stopped paying when they had not. (Most of the claims in this lawsuit were fired earlier this yearhowever, on the basis of the legal status of the case, not the decision related to the complaints themselves.)
Google also cites the FTC lawsuit in its new filing, adding that Match executives acknowledged that the cancellation process is “difficult to find, tedious and confusing.” The quote from the head of the Match Group, unfortunately, has been edited in the documentation.
Google is seeking a jury trial and monetary damages for breach of Match Group’s contract. He is also seeking a decision that will permanently ban Match Group from the Google Play Store.
The lawsuit is pending in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
The news of the filing was first reported Bloomberg.
Google said in a statement: “Match Group has entered into a contract with us and this lawsuit is intended to hold Match until the end of the agreement – we look forward to taking legal action.” In the meantime, we will continue to defend against Match’s unsubstantiated claims.”
The match was also asked to comment.
Credit: techcrunch.com /