Apple has soaked up much of the criticism (and lawsuits / regulatory scrutiny) over its approach to app-store billing, but Google is no bystander.
We wrote last month about a dispute kicking off between Epic Games and Google over Bandcamp and Android’s Google Play Store, but now Google is also at legal loggerheads with Tinder’s parent company Match Group.
The latter is suing the tech giant claiming that it “illegally monopolized the market for distributing apps” on Android, due to its rules on apps using its billing system to sell digital items and services, rather than their own.
“Google lured app developers to its platform with assurances that we could offer users a choice over how to pay for the services they want,” claimed Match Group in its filing, alleging that Google then “sought to ban alternative in-app payment processing services so it could take a cut of nearly every in-app transaction on Android”.
Is Google rattled? Well, an official blog post headlined ‘Setting the Record Straight on Match Group’s Cynical Campaign Against Google Play’ rather suggests so.
“They want access to Google Play’s global distribution platform and users, they want to unfairly leverage Google’s substantial investments in the platform, and they want it all for free,” wrote VP of government affairs and public policy Wilson White. “Match Group is attempting to freeload off our investments rather than being a responsible partner.”
It’s an argument strikingly similar to the one Apple has made when challenged by the likes of Epic Games and Spotify. A combination of courts, regulation, voluntary changes and private settlements will ultimately dictate how the policies of the world’s two biggest app stores settles down.
Music services, including Bandcamp and Spotify but also others, will be at the heart of this. One of those private settlements, remember, has already been struck between Google and Spotify, with the latter becoming the first partner for a new ‘user choice billing’ system that lets apps offer their own payments