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Google and Match Group avoid antitrust trial with settlement

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The antitrust lawsuit jointly filed by Epic Games and Match Group against Google was originally slated for a trial on November 6. However, it now appears that Epic Games may be proceeding with the lawsuit independently. Google and Match, the parent company of Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge, have reached a mutual agreement to drop all claims against each other. As reported by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Google has consented to release the $40 million that Match had placed in escrow to cover the service fees that Match was allegedly expected to owe to the Alphabet unit during the ongoing dispute.

Additionally, Match announced in its earnings report that its apps will begin utilizing Google’s User Choice Billing program commencing on March 31, 2024. Under this program, users will have the option to select between Google’s billing system and the developer’s billing system when making app purchases or subscribing to services. If they opt for Google’s system, Match will be required to pay Google a fee of 15 percent for recurring subscriptions and 30 percent for one-time payments. For payments processed through the developer’s provided alternative, Google’s share is reduced to 11 percent for recurring subscriptions and 26 percent for one-time payments. Match has stated that the terms they’ve agreed upon will help offset the additional costs their apps will incur when implementing the User Choice Billing program over a three-year period, starting in 2024.

Match Group, the parent company of Tinder, originally filed a lawsuit against Google in 2022, alleging violations of federal and state antitrust laws. Match claimed that Google had previously assured them they could use their own payment system. However, when Google announced a new policy mandating that all Android developers process payments through the Play Store billing system, they allegedly threatened to remove Match’s apps from the store if they didn’t comply. Match also alleged that Google had been rejecting app updates that maintained the existing payment system.

Later that year, Match joined forces with Epic Games, and the two combined their antitrust lawsuit against Google. They expanded their allegations, accusing Google of offering substantial sums to major developers to retain their apps in the Play Store. According to Bloomberg, Epic Games is now scheduled to face Google in court on November 2, and the judge is awaiting a decision from both parties on whether they want a jury to adjudicate their case. Although there have been no indications that Epic Games is negotiating an agreement with Google, the outcome will become clear if the trial proceeds on November 2.

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