A competition complaint against the Google Play Store by Match Group has led to a preliminary investigation by the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) into whether the tech giant is abusing a dominant position, the regulator has said.
Match Group owns Tinder and a number of other dating apps, and declined to comment on the substance of its complaint — but the ACM confirmed it has received “a request for enforcement regarding the Google Play Store.”
“Dating-app providers allegedly are no longer able to use a payment system other than Google’s payment system. In addition, dating apps claim they are no longer allowed to refer to other payment methods either,” the ACM also said in a short press statement.
“Dating-app provider [Match Group] has asked ACM to assess whether Google abuses its dominant position with these practices. ACM will therefore conduct a preliminary investigation in response to this request.”
In its own statement, a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch: “Like any business, Google charges for services but Match Group’s apps are eligible to pay just 15% on Google Play for digital subscriptions, which is the lowest rate among major app platforms. But even if they don’t want to comply with Google Play’s policies, Android still provides them multiple ways of distributing their apps to Android users, including through other Android app stores, directly to users via their website or as consumption-only apps.”
The ACM has been locked in a lengthy battle with iOS maker Apple over its app store payment rules as applied to local dating apps — which led it to order that Apple must allow dating apps to use alternative payment processing services and issue a series of fines as the regulator judged Apple had failed to comply with the order.