Apple does not permit apps to use alternate payment methods and forces them to pay high commissions: Match Group
Apple is leveraging its dominant position in the iOS App Store market to promote the exclusive use of its own payment solution, the CCI filing said
The CCI has clubbed the Match case with other antitrust probes currently underway against the tech giant: Report
Fresh trouble appears to be brewing for Apple as online dating giant Match Group, which owns and operates brands like Tinder and OkCupid, has reportedly filed an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant in India.
In a filing with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Match accused Apple of ‘monopolistic conduct’ and forcing developers to pay high commissions for in-app purchases, news agency Reuters reported.
Match argued that Apple does not permit apps listed on its app marketplace to use alternate payment methods and forces them to pay high commissions.
In the Indian context, Match said that local users prefer UPI as a payment option, hinting that the payment method is not allowed to be deployed on iOS apps.
“Apple is therefore leveraging its dominant position in the iOS App Store market, to promote the exclusive use of its own payment solution,” Match’s head of global government relations Mark Buse was quoted as saying in the filing.
Match also took potshots at Apple for its ‘arbitrary’ approach, saying it adopts a different approach for other players. Pointing out Uber and Ola, it complained to the CCI that Apple considers ride-hailing apps in the country as providers of ‘physical goods/services’ and enables alternate payment solutions for them, even though they perform a ‘similar matchmaking function’ like a dating app.
“Both dating and ridesharing apps share the same fundamental purpose i.e. matching two people online to meet in the real world…Apple has arbitrarily declared that the two are different,” added Match.
The development comes at a time when the Cupertino-based tech giant is under renewed scrutiny in India over a slew of antitrust cases. Apple has been under fire over the 15-30% commission rate that it charges from app developers. Many developers have slammed the high commission.
In September last year, a Jaipur-based non-profit organisation ‘Together We Fight Society’ also filed a case against Apple for allegedly ‘hurting competition’ and acting as a ‘barrier to market entry’ on its App Store.
The CCI later took up the case and is probing the mandatory in-app purchase system instituted by the tech giant, which the critics claim acts as a barrier to market entry.
Apple has denied the allegations citing its ‘insignificant’ market share in the total smartphone sales.
Quoting sources, the Reuters report said that the competition watchdog has clubbed the Match case with other probes currently underway against the smartphone manufacturer in the country.
Despite being party to a host of litigants across the globe, Apple has refused to mend its ways. In March this year, authorities in the Netherlands imposed a fine of $5.5 Mn on Apple for non-compliance with norms related to alternative payment systems for dating apps. It was the ninth fine imposed on the tech giant in the country.
According to Statista, the Indian app market is expected to gross $2.3 Bn in revenue by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 9.22%