Match Group takes Google app store war to US courts
Match Group, the parent of Tinder, said in a lawsuit that its apps started from the Google Play Store would be a “death knell”. – Copyright AFP Hector RETAMAL
Match Group, the parent of Tinder, filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco on Monday accusing Google of abusing monopoly power over its Play Store that sells digital content for Android phones.
The litigation is part of an ongoing battle between Match, Epic Games and others to force Google parent Alphabet and iPhone maker Apple to loosen their grip on their respective app stores.
Match’s filing came after Google changed Play Store rules to require its family of apps to use the internet giant’s payment system, which collects fees of up to 30% on transactions, explained court documents.
Google has made it clear that it will remove Match apps from the Play Store if they violate the rule, Match said in the filing, saying such punishment would be a “death knell”.
“This is a case of strategic market manipulation, broken promises and abuse of power,” Match said in the lawsuit.
Google did not respond to a request for comment, but has previously defended its Play Store fees as being in line with industry standards and reasonable for running a secure global platform for digital content.
While the App Store is the only gateway for content to access Apple mobile devices, users of Android smartphones or tablets may download apps at their own risk from online sites other than Apple’s Play Store. Google.
Match’s lawsuit argued that despite the options, users get content for Android devices from the Play Store more than 90% of the time.
Match asked the court to order Google to let it circumvent the Play Store’s billing system while keeping its apps on virtual shelves.
Match is also seeking unspecified damages and legal fees.
Matching apps include OkCupid, PlentyofFish, and Tinder.
Match, Epic Games and other companies have banded together in the Coalition for App Fairness to lobby marketplaces only.
Apple has taken on Fortnite creator Epic Games in court, which sought to break Apple’s grip on the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly in its store of digital goods or services.
In November, a federal judge ordered Apple to relax control of its payment options on the App Store, but said Epic had failed to prove that antitrust violations had occurred.
Apple chief Tim Cook attacked moves to regulate his company’s App Store in a rare speech in Washington in April, saying new rules could threaten the privacy of iPhone users.
“We are deeply concerned about regulations that would compromise privacy and security in the service of another purpose,” Cook told a meeting of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.