Near the end of 2018, Epic Games made a lot of noise that criticized Valve’s and Google’s, but not Apple’s, practice of taking a large chunk out of both direct app sales as well as in-app purchases or IAPs. This isn’t really news, however, as the 30/70 revenue cut has long been in place and only now being questioned. Some apps and services have taken matters into their own hand and Tinder might be the straw that breaks the Google Play Store camel’s back.
Tinder is reportedly launching a new payment system that will bypass Google Play’s standard process and, therefore, avoid paying its 30%, tax. It will, of course, require users to enter their credit card details directly but it does one thing no app has done before. Once Tinder users have switched to that new payment system, they won’t be able to switch back to Google Play’s payment system.
Tinder may be a small player in the grand scheme of things but Bloomberg’s report suggests it could actually be just the beginning. If it proves to be successful and Google ignores it, other apps, especially lucrative mobile games, are sure to follow. And that could spell trouble not just for Google but Apple as well.
It isn’t alone in this revolt against the status quo. Netflix and Spotify already prohibit subscribing or renewing subscriptions via the app to avoid the revenue cut. Epic Games refuses to release Fortnite via Google Play Store for that same reason.
This could start a rather turbulent period in mobile ecosystem history as some apps snub some platforms while bending the knee to others. It could also introduce not just inconvenience but also security risks. It now falls on Google to take the steps that will secure not just Android users but also the future of its app marketplace as well.