Google has signed an agreement interim in an interim agreement with Match Group, the dating app company responsible for Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid, which will permit the apps to remain available on the Google Play Store and will also offer alternative payment options, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Month Match Group filed a lawsuit against Google at the beginning of this month. It claimed that Google “illegally monopolized the market for distributing apps” by making app developers utilize Google’s billing system and taking up to 30% of the in-app purchases. Match Group later sought an injunction against Google but rescinded the request on Friday after Google offered some concessions.
Google should make a “good faith” effort to create “additional billing system features.”
In addition to its commitment to not stop or take away Match Group’s applications out of the Play Store when they use third-party payment platforms, Google must put forth a “good faith” effort to develop “additional billing system features important to Match Group.” Match has also agreed to provide its billing platform to users within its applications.
Instead of paying Google a fee for payments that are not part of their billing systems, Match has set up an escrow account of $40 million until an agreement is reached and must maintain a record of charges it would have paid Google beginning on July 1st. Both companies are scheduled to be trialed beginning in April 2023. Google plans to make an action countersuit against Match if it violates the terms of its Developer Distribution Agreement in the interim.
Like Match and the Match app, Match, the Epic Games-owned Bandcamp, is also embroiled in a legal fight against Google. In the last week, Epic submitted a request for an interim injunction to block Google from removing the music storefront from its app store to utilize the company’s system of billing.
In a press release on Friday, Bandcamp announced that it had signed an agreement similar to the one Match signed with Google and allows Bandcamp to remain in the Google Play Store while using its payment system. The music streaming platform claims it will deposit 10% of the proceeds from purchases made through Android within an escrow account until Epic’s antitrust suit against Google advances. Epic filed a similar lawsuit in the same court against Apple in 2020 following its removal of Fortnite from the App Store due to its alternative billing system. The court’s final decision ruled that there was no winner.
Match Group and Epic Games are members of the Coalition of App Fairness (CAF), a group of companies fighting against practices it believes is anticompetitive, such as Google and Apple’s regulations that prohibit developers from using alternative payment processors in both their app store platforms. The month of March saw Google declare that Spotify — a different CAF member was to become one of the very first platforms to test their system of payment (in conjunction with Google’s) on the Play Store.
Google and Apple are under fire for their policies regarding app stores by developers and government regulators from various countries. In February, The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Open App Markets Act, a bill that aims to encourage competition in mobile computing. The EU is set to implement their specific set of regulations for Big Tech in spring 2023. The Netherlands has also been adamant about Apple’s in-app payments policies. South Korea has enacted a law that requires both Google and Apple to permit developers to utilize third-party payment services within their applications.