Google is sued for a controversial Play Store update

Google is sued for a controversial Play Store update

Google has begun mandating all Android apps that use in-app payments in the Play Shop to use just Google’s Play Store billing system – or leave the store. This hasn’t gone over well with the Match Group, the company behind Tinder and Match. Match is now suing Google for monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior, asserting irreparable injury to its business and calling the decision to withdraw its app a “death knell threat.”

Google is sued for a controversial Play Store update

This will exclude apps that sell physical goods like Uber Eats and Amazon, but ensnare those which sell digital goods like Amazon’s Audible and Kindle apps. For Match, which had previously been allowed to run its own payment system side-by-side with Google’s, the move comes as a slap in the face.

Google had previously allowed Match’s apps, including Tinder, to opt out of using the Play Store’s billing system, but the company has changed its mind in recent months. Rather, it will be requiring all apps in the Play Store which support in-app Payments to use Google’s Play billing system without the option of a third-party payments processor.

“Google convinced billions around the world to use the Android mobile operating system on promises of an open ecosystem, flexibility, and a focus on the user. Through those platitudes and promises and the anticompetitive tactics detailed in this complaint, Google illegally monopolized the market for distributing apps on Android devices with its Google Play Store — making it today the only viable choice a mobile application developer has to reach Android users,” Match wrote in a court complaint.

Google had announced plans to tighten its previously lenient Play Store billing policy (with some exceptions) in 2020. Apps that do not follow this new policy will no longer be allowed to receive updates before being kicked off the Play Store entirely from June.

“Now, Google seeks to eliminate user choice of payment services and raise prices on consumers by extending its dominance to the separate market for in-app payment processors on Android. It is conditioning app availability on Google Play with exclusive use of its own in-app payment processing product, Google Play Billing, where it can charge supra-competitive prices and monetize the personal data of billions of digital app users.”

 

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