Apple and Google are set to face their first major test under a law targeting their controversial app store fees – and the result could be a South Korean battle with the company that owns Tinder.
Match Group – which also owns dating apps like Hinge, OkCupid, and PlentyOfFish – is looking to take advantage of a recently passed South Korean law that targets punitive fees from Apple and Google, which can be as high as 30%. revenue from an application.
Match – a scathing critic of fees alongside developers like Spotify and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite – bought the Seoul-based dating app Hyperconnect in June for $ 1.73 billion. Now, the Dallas-based company plans to submit updates to its apps before the end of October, allowing South Korean customers to bypass Apple and Google’s payment systems, The Post has learned.
While the updates appear straightforward and in line with the new legislation, some sources close to Match are bracing for a possible dusting. They’re betting that Apple, Google, or both could drag their feet or reject updates altogether. That, in turn, could lead to a lengthy appeal process with regulators, who have threatened to impose fines on companies of up to 3% of their total revenues in South Korea if they don’t comply.
The stakes are high for Match, which expects to shell out more than $ 500 million in such fees globally this year alone, which is roughly 20% of the company’s global revenue.
South Korea passed a law in August that banned Apple and Google from forcing app developers to use their payment systems. Meanwhile, bills introduced in the US House and Senate in August would also ban Apple and Google from requiring app developers to use their payment systems. EU antitrust regulators said last year they were investigating whether Apple’s payment requirements violated the bloc’s competition laws.
In September, a California judge in a dispute between Apple and Epic Games ordered Apple to let developers who use its app store offer customers payment systems in addition to Apple Pay. But the judge also ruled against Epic on several counts, and the video game maker has appealed the decision. It’s unclear when or if Apple will be forced to let Californians use alternative payment systems.
On September 16, Match chief financial officer Gary Swidler told the Wall Street Journal that the company plans to offer alternative payment systems to California customers at some point in the future.
The Journal also said updates to the company’s Korean apps would be submitted “in the next few months” – but Tuesday’s news shows Match is moving faster than expected.
Apple and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.