The disagreements between Match Group (parent company of dating apps such as Tinder, Match, and OkCupid) and Google continue in a court battle over whether imposing in-app payments on the Play Store to use Play billing is considered anti-competitive. In the meantime, a temporary agreement has been reached at the court’s request, but that agreement itself has caused even more conflict between the two parties.
In case you haven’t been following this case, earlier this month, Match Group sued Google for forcing its Android apps to use Google Play’s billing system for in-app purchases on the Play Store, which they deem “anti-competitive.” Google then responded to these claims via a public post and defended its position, stating that this is a fair practice that allows the company to reinvest and grow. Furthermore, Google called what Match Group was doing a “cynical campaign against Google Play” and accused Match of wanting to freeload off Google’s substantial investments in the Play platform.
Then yesterday, a press release was published by Match Group stating that the two parties had reached a temporary agreement and that Google had basically conceded to their demands. Match stated that the agreement prevents Google from forcing them to use Google Play Billing, removing their apps from the Play Store, and gaining “unfettered” access to their consumer data and behavior. Furthermore, they explained that they had to concede themselves by having to put up to $40 million in an escrow account instead of paying Google directly for their Google Play Billing fees. This money will be held there until the court hears their case and decides on the matter.
Once again, Google felt it necessary to clear up the statements made by Match Group and released another public post to “set the record straight to make sure the rest of the developer ecosystem is aware of the facts.” In its post, Google states that Match group disregarded the stipulations it agreed to in court by publishing that press release. Google says the press release mischaracterizes what actually happened in court and that it was misleading, giving their own version of what concessions were made as follows:
• Match Group has to put up to $40 million in an escrow account to begin to account for the service fees it owes us.
• Match Group must also provide Google with a monthly accounting of all in-app sales of digital goods and services from June 1 through trial so we can track what it owes for the immense benefit it receives from Google Play.
• Match Group must work in good faith to further enable Google Play’s billing system as an option for users. Google agreed to work in good faith to continue to develop additional billing system features that are important to Match Group, as Google has already been doing for years with countless developers, including Match Group.Google Blog
So as you can see, it doesn’t sound like either party is willing to let go of the issue, and they want the courts to decide. However, Google says they are confident they’ll succeed in their defense against Match Group’s complaint and will, in turn, be filing a countersuit. It will all unfold in a trial that is currently set to start in April 2023.