Sunday, December 3, 2023

Google faces lawsuit over controversial Play Store change

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Google has began to demand all Android apps sold in the Play Store that use in-app payments to use the Google Play Store’s billing system and nothing else – or leave the store. This did not go well with the Match Group, the creator of dating services including Tinder and the eponymous Match. The company is now suing Google for monopolistic and anti-competitive actions, claiming irreparable damage to Match’s business and calling the move to remove its app a “death threat” to their business.

Google has previously allowed Match apps, including Tinder, to choose not to use the Play Store billing system, but the company has changed its mind in recent months. Rather, it will require all applications in the Play Store that support in-app Payments to use the Google Play billing system without the choice of a third-party payment processor. This will exclude apps that sell physical merchandise like Uber Eats and Amazon, but capture those that sell digital merchandise like Amazon’s Audible and Kindle apps. For Match, which was previously allowed to operate its own payment system side-by-side with Google, the move comes as a slap in the face.

“Google has persuaded billions around the world to use the Android mobile operating system because of promises of an open ecosystem, flexibility and a focus on the user. on Android devices with its Google Play Store – making it the only viable option a mobile app developer has today to reach Android users, “Match. wrote in a court complaint. “Now, Google is looking to eliminate the use of payment services and increase consumer pricing by extending its dominance to the separate market for in-app payment processors on Android. , Google Play Billing, where it can charge super-competitive pricing and monetize the personal data of billions of digital app users. “

Google has announced plans to tighten its previously stiff Play Store billing policy (with some exceptions) in 2020. Applications that do not follow this new policy will no longer be eligible to receive updates before being launched from the Play Store in full in June.

Wrong decision

Google making this change to the Play Store might make a lot of sense for the bottom line and match it to Apple, but it can only be described as deafening and wrong. The company had some goodwill from developers because it differed from Apple and allowed cut-outs for selected app categories – along with support for third-party app stores and side-loading. Now, with Apple facing lawsuits around the world over this same issue, Google has chosen to become one more like Apple rather than retaining morale or even legal high ground.

Match is not the only high-profile developer who has expressed dissatisfaction with Google over this issue. Bandcamp is to sue Google over the changes it makes, challenging it on the cases. Amazon simply flexes its market power here and requires Android users to use the browser to make Kindle or Audible purchases. When it comes to choosing between Apple and Google or the freeway – more and more developers seem to miss the freedom of the freeway.

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