Dutch authority also investigating Google after dating apps complaint

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) launched an investigation into Google’s conditions for app providers in the Google Play Store. The regulator received complaints from dating apps that they cannot use a payment system other than Google’s and accused the tech giant of distorting competition.

The complaint comes from Match Group, owner of the popular dating platform Tinder. The ACM is first investigating whether these complaints are sufficient grounds for a follow-up investigation into possible abuse of power by Google.

According to the ACM, Match Group also claims that Google prohibits all references to other payment options within the app store for Android, Google’s operating system.

Match Group previously also filed a complaint about the conditions Apple imposed on dating apps in its App Store. This resulted in the ACM fining Apple up to 50 million euros. The regulator still finds Apple’s commitments to offer app providers more choice in payment processing insufficient.

A spokesperson for the ACM stressed that a process of three years preceded the fines against Apple, and it is far from certain that the Google case will have a comparable outcome.

Match Group apps are required to pay a 15 percent commission when users sign up for a paid subscription in the Play Store. Google points out in response that there are plenty of other app stores for Andriod than just the Play Store. It is also possible to offer apps in the Play Store where no payments are made but which do contain links to websites where users can pay. 

“Like any business, Google charges for its services,” the company responded by email. “But even if you don’t want to meet the requirements of Google Play, Android offers plenty of alternatives that allow you to offer apps to Android users.”

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