Google Agrees Dating Apps Can Stay in Play Store for Duration of Match Group’s Antitrust Suit

Shortly after Match Group and several subsidiaries sued Google for antitrust violations, the parties have agreed that Google will not remove Match’s apps from the Google Play Store while the court battle plays out. The lawsuit centers on Google’s recently instituted policy that certain third-party app developers use its proprietary billing system, which Match claims violates federal and state competition laws.

Specifically, Match, the operator of several popular online dating platforms including Tinder, sued Google seeking to halt enforcement of the policy. The San Jose, Calif. suit accused the defendant of strong-arming app developers by imposing the 15-30% levy on in-app purchases simply because it could.

Match also moved for a temporary restraining order seeking to “preserve the status quo and stop Google from ending consumer choice by enforcing an anticompetitive ultimatum that would disrupt millions of Match Group’s customer relationships, prevent Match Group from distributing its apps to hundreds of millions of potential customers globally, and inflict other irreparable harms.”

The motion further explained that because Match did not agree to use Google Play Billing exclusively, Google barred Match from updating its apps and said that if not compliant by June 1, it would ban Match’s apps entirely. “If Google enforces its ban on June 1, Match Group will lose access to more than half of its potential customers overnight,” the motion explained of its request that the court to enjoin Google from enforcing the billing policy.

In last week’s stipulation and to avoid litigating the matter, the parties agreed that Google would not remove or delist Match’s apps for the reason that Match insisted on using its own billing system. In addition, Match agreed that Google could simultaneously offer Google Play Billing to Match app customers and agreed to provide it with a monthly accounting of all in-app digital goods and services purchased. The agreement also sets forth conditions for termination and requires Match to post a $40 million bond.

Match Group is represented by Hueston Hennigan LLP and Google by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and O’Melveny Myers LLP.