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First Fortnite, Now Tinder: How Android’s Biggest Apps Are Giving Google’s Revenue Scheme the Runaround

Tinder and Fortnite are free for users to download on Android and iOS, with both apps offering a bevy of purchases that let users enhance their online dating and gaming experiences. The mobile battle-royale game first made waves when it sidestepped the Google Play Store, in an effort to avoid giving the search company up to 30% of its revenue. Now Tinder, one of Android's highest grossing apps, is following suit.

According to Bloomberg, via information obtained by research group Macquarie, users of the card-style dating app can expect a new way to pay for Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold, and other in-app purchases. Instead of using the credit card info they have on file in their Google Play Store account, users will be asked to enter their credit card information into the app. The transaction may appear the same on the users' end, but Macquarie projects that the change would allow Tinder to avoid giving Google a portion of what it earns—30% of a user's first year subscription costs, 15% in the years after.

In an email to Fortune, Match Group, Tinder's owner, chalked up the change to experimenting. "We constantly test new updates and features to offer convenience," a spokesperson says. Tinder is expected to address the change during an August 6 earnings call.

If successful, Tinder's choice to use its own payment platform could result in a ripple effect. Alongside Fortnite, it serves as a model for Android software makers looking to pocket Google Play Store's 15%–30% cost of doing Android business. And if more prominent apps bypass Google's payment option, the company could see reduced profits from apps that its own platform helped make popular. Google did not respond to Fortune's request for comment.

This isn't an Android-only issue. Apple's ecosystem is also frustrating big name developers. In December 2018, Netflix stopped letting new users pay for its service through its iOS app. And in March, Spotify filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple with the European Commission, claiming that the App Store's rules "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience."

Apple responded to Spotify's action by issuing a press release, saying that even though Apple takes a 30% cut of a user's first year subscription, the slice drops to 15% in subsequent years. Apple also noted that Spotify keeps all the revenue it generates from its free, ad-supported tier.

But with Apple's move into subscription media with Apple Music, it's unlikely the tech giant and the Swedish music streamer will kiss and make up. Google and Tinder, meanwhile, don't swim in the same dating pool, meaning theoretically there's a chance they could get back together—but don't hold your breath.

According to Bloomberg, Macquarie notes that once users enter their payment info into Tinder's payment system, the option for Google Play's payment platform is gets dumped from the app.

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