The towel is burning between Google and the parent company of Tinder. Match Group accuses Google of exercising a harmful monopoly on the distribution of applications with its Google Play store. A case that reminds of another.
Google is facing a new lawsuit. The Match Group company (which publishes the Tinder and OKCupid dating applications, among others) has just taken the Web giant to court over the commission it charges on mobile transactions. The company believes that Google”illegally monopolized the application distribution market.“
Match feels “held hostage” by Google
The bone of contention? The 30% punctured by Google on each Google Play transaction. “Ten years ago, Match Group was Google’s partner. We are now his hostage“, described Match Group in its complaint. “Blinded by the possibility of getting an ever larger share of the billions of dollars that users spend each year on Android applications, Google is a company to monopolize the market“, adds the company, which takes a dim view that Google is getting richer thanks to each (expensive) subscription to Tinder or OKCupid.
“Like any business, we charge for our services, and like any responsible platform, we protect users from fraud and abuse in apps.“, defends Google. The Web giant also specifies that, since 2021, certain applications (including those of Match) are eligible for a commission reduced to 15%, “the lowest on the market“, advances Google. But another affront poisons relations between the two firms: in March 2022, Google began a test allowing certain applications to replace payment obligations via Google Play, and it seems that Match does not do so. The company requested access to this feature, but Google reportedly refused.
Apple, Fortnite, Europe and DMA
“This legal action is a measure of last resort.“, confessed Shar Dubey, the CEO of Match. The case obviously recalls that which opposed Epic Games (the studio behind Fortnite) to Apple. There too, it is a question of abusive commission, too strict control over distribution of Apple’s Application and alternative payment systems This is not a huge surprise, given the many controversies that have arisen around this subject in recent years.
Beyond the Fortnite or Match Group case, Valve also found itself in a similar case last year, Facebook having for its part expressed its dissatisfaction with Apple, while Microsoft cautiously lowered the commission of its store from 30 to 12% to avoid unpleasant surprises. This case comes in a tense political climate with the recent adoption of the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act (DMA and DSA) by Brussels. Two new texts which aim precisely to regulate potential abuses of a dominant position. The timing of Match’s complaint is therefore not completely anodized.