Statement | ADIF says taking on monopolies is a global fight, commends Match Group's legal battle against Google
It’s heartening to see that through its antitrust battle against the tech giant, Match Group has garnered a temporary agreement on in-app payments.
The predatory and anti-competitive policies of big tech firms don’t just impact Indian developers, businesses from around the world are facing the consequences of their gatekeeper practices. The fight against these giants – especially the monopolizing of the app market by Google and Apple through mandating their own billing system for app developers selling digital goods – is thus also a global fight.
Both Google and Apple charge a fee, modelled as a set rate of commission on purchases of digital goods and services i.e., paid apps and in-app purchases (IAPs), to cover the costs of the services that they provide. Currently, Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store charge 15-30% commission on purchases of paid apps and IAPs, depending on the type of app.
Under this policy, Google will effectively bar app developers from using any other payment system i.e., other than Google Play Billing System, thus forcing the payment of its commission as well as preventing app developers from innovating with novel payment systems.
As an enforcement measure, developers not complying with Google’s payments policy will not be allowed to submit updates to their apps. Furthermore, all non-compliant apps would also be removed from the Google Play Store starting June 2022.
In India, ADIF has picked up this fight against the tech giants on the behalf of smaller developers who don’t have the ability or resources to take on a behemoth like Google, which wields the power to make and break app-based businesses and has gotten the new payments deadline extended to October 2022.
Organizations and companies in other geographies are also taking measures to stop Google and Apple’s unfair policies. It’s commendable that Match Group has come forward and themselves picked up a legal battle to challenge Android’s in-app payment monopoly. The company’s complaint against Google is that the giant is misusing its monopoly by requiring app developers to use Google's billing system and then taking up to a 30% cut on any in-app purchases.
Through their antitrust battle against the tech giant, Match Group has garnered a temporary agreement so that any in-app payments made in their apps Tinder and Hinge will be made using a third-party system.
This agreement shall remain in place until the start of the trial between Match Group and Google in 2023.
It’s further commendable that through the efforts of Match Group, other companies – like Bumble – whose revenues have taken a hit due to Google’s mandatory payments policies, are also facing pressure to consider evaluating their fee arrangement with the app stores.
Crucially, Match Group’s fight against Google’s monopolistic policies – and the resultant agreement – has set an important precedent and opened the doors for other companies affected by gatekeeper policies to take a legal stand.
We at ADIF exhort Google and Apple to do away with their restrictive practices in the app economy for the benefit of app developers, especially the smaller ones.