Google Responds to Match Group Antitrust Complaint Over App Store Billing Policies

On Monday, Google responded to a complaint filed by Match Group LLC, the operator of several popular dating sites, including Match.com and Tinder. In its response, Google defended the distribution and payment system for Android OS apps through its Google Play Store and said the complaint was legally without merit.

Match sued Google in May, alleging it illegally monopolized the app distribution market on Android devices, making the Google Play Store the only viable choice a mobile app developer has to reach Android users. .

Additionally, Google’s recent requirement that Match use Google’s proprietary billing system would require the applicant to part with 15-30% of the sale of dating app subscriptions or in-app purchases. The policy change eliminates user choice and extends Google’s dominance to the separate Android in-app payment market, according to the complaint. Noting that a decade ago Match was Google’s “partner”, the lawsuit found that he was now Google’s “hostage”.

This week’s responsive filing comes after Google agreed to allow Match’s in-app billing process to remain alongside its own and agreed not to remove Match’s apps from the Google Play Store for the duration of the litigation.

Google’s response defended its distribution system, noting that app developers don’t pay Google a dime until they close a sale. The defendant noted that app developers like Match benefit from tools and a global distribution platform that have enabled it to “thrive and build a successful user network that is essential for its dating apps. “.

Google also countered that Match’s real motivation for wearing the suit was to “undermine the user experience to improve its own results.” In support, Google pointed to a statement from a senior vice president of Match allegedly acknowledging that Match’s real concern with Google Play’s billing system is “the ease with which users can cancel their subscriptions to help from Google’s account management tools”.

Google said Match’s antitrust claims ignore the fact that Android vigorously competes with Apple’s iOS, and unlike Apple, Google does not require Android users or developers to use Google Play to download, install or distribute applications on Android smartphones. Additionally, he pointed out that Google’s expansion of access to smartphones and mobile apps has boosted the incentive for developers to invest in apps that drive nearly every sector of the US economy.

The response filing also set out 12 defenses, including failure to report a claim, legitimate business justification, a ban on the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act, and defenses involving Match Group’s allegedly unclean hands and its own conduct. guilty.

Match Group is represented by Hueston Hennigan LLP and Google by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and O’Melveny Myers LLP.

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