Google and Match Group settle antitrust case before it goes to trial

Match sued Google over its Play Store policies requiring developers to use its payment system.

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The antitrust lawsuit Epic Games and Match Group have filed against Google was supposed to go to trial on November 6, but now it looks like the video game developer might go at it alone. Google and Match, the parent company of Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge, have reached an agreement and have agreed to drop all claims against each other. According to Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Google has agreed to return the $40 million Match had place in escrow to cover the service fees it would supposedly owe the Alphabet unit while the dispute is ongoing.

Match also announced in its earning report that its apps will be using Google's User Choice Billing program starting on March 31, 2024. Under the program, users will have the option to choose between Google's and the developer's billing systems when purchasing an app or paying for a subscription. If they choose to use Google's system, then Match will have to pay Google 15 percent for recurring subscriptions and 30 percent for one-off payments. Google's cut is reduced to 11 percent and 26 percent, respectively, for payments that go through the developer's provided alternative. The dating services provider said that the terms they agreed on will offset the additional costs its apps will incur implementing the User Choice Billing program over three years starting in 2024.

Tinder's parent company originally sued Google in 2022, accusing it of violating federal and state antitrust laws. Match said that Google previously assured it that it could use its own payment system. However, when it announced a new policy that would require all Android developers to process payments through the Play Store billing system, Google allegedly threatened to remove its apps from the store if it didn't comply. Match also claimed that the company had been rejecting app updates that maintained the payment system it was using.

Later that year, Match had joined up with Epic Games, and the two consolidated their antitrust lawsuit against their common foe. They even expanded their allegations and accused Google of paying major developers hundreds of millions of dollars to keep their apps in the Play Store. Bloomberg says Epic is now scheduled to face Google in court alone on November 2, and the judge is waiting for both parties to decide whether they want a jury to make the decision for their case. Epic had also sued Apple over the same issue, but in Google's case, the court has to acknowledge that Android users can sideload applications to their devices. The video game developer hasn't dropped any hints that it's also hashing out an agreement with the bigger company, but we'll know for sure if the trial still pushes through on November 2.