Netherlands: The Dutch market surveillance authority announces the opening of a preliminary investigation targeting Google and the payment system of its Play Store

The Dutch Market Surveillance Authority has announced the opening of a preliminary investigation into Google, after receiving a complaint about the payment terms imposed on providers of dating apps in its Play Store, which could constitute a distortion of competition.

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has received a complaint from the “Match Group”, which notably owns Tinder, claiming that it is not allowed to use a payment system other than that of Google on the “Play Store”, its platform for downloading essential applications for smartphones and tablets under Android system.

“We very recently had a request for execution and we will see if there is reason to launch a thorough investigation,” said Murco Mijnlieff, spokesman for the ACM. “It’s really the first step in a procedure that can take years,” he told AFP.

In a case “which seems similar” according to Mr. Mijnlieff, the ACM had imposed between January and March ten fines of five million euros on Apple, for a total of 50 million euros, for the payment conditions imposed on the dating app providers in the App Store, the brand’s online store.

The regulator believed that dating app providers should be able to use other payment systems in addition to Apple’s system in the App Store. The procedure had lasted several years, he said.

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