Dating app giant Match Group believes it’s “quite possible” that the recent Apple-Epic Games antitrust appeal ruling, while largely in favor of Apple, could result in an exemption from App Store fees for developers. Gary Swidler, Match Group president and CFO, spoke to investors during Match’s Q1 earnings call and shared the company’s view of the landmark ruling, which upheld the lower court’s view that Apple was not a monopolist, but the iPhone maker commanded gave developers the ability to include links in their apps directing customers to third-party payment options.
This change to Apple’s existing “anti-steering policy,” which prohibits developers from marketing other payment methods, was the main reason Apple appealed the court’s earlier ruling. Despite losing its greater antitrust appeal, Epic Games immediately seized on this part of the appeals court decision to announce it was “working on next steps” to take advantage of the relaxed permissions.
Match, meanwhile, didn’t hint at its own plans regarding the ruling, but rather spoke more broadly about the potential changes coming to the larger app market as a result of this decision, as well as other new laws and global regulations.
For example, Swidler alerted investors to several battles Apple faces, including the recent antitrust investigation in the UK with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) targeting browsers and cloud gaming. Apple also won that appeal, but it is representative of a market where Apple’s policy decisions no longer go unchecked.
Meanwhile, Match said the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), whose new rules now apply, will impact App Store costs.
“In the EU, and in some other jurisdictions such as India, we believe there will be changes that will result in changes in App Store costs… especially as a result of the DMA in Europe – or in the EU – in 2024 ,” Swidler told investors.
The exec said it was not yet clear whether the Apple-Epic ruling would lead to an exemption from the App Store fees, but suggested it was “quite possible”, adding that Apple will ultimately have to decide whether it wants to extend its policy. reconsider on a global basis or continue to establish specific rules for each region.
“If you…count all of this – with all these different changes and things going on and all these different jurisdictions – I think it means the app stores have to ask themselves a question, which is, are they going to respond to this? change little by little and have different policies and pricing structures and approaches in different markets Or are they going to have one global policy that addresses all of these really significant and valid concerns and change the app store policies to create a fairer app store ecosystem for consumers?” said Swidler.
Match said it expects some kind of decision regarding those questions in the next 12 months.
The creator of the dating app and parent of Tinder has been heavily involved in taking antitrust actions against the app stores, including both Apple and Google, has already testified at Senate antitrust hearings and has dealt with other lawsuits, including one about the google play store fees. It’s also one of the tech companies helping the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation against Apple, along with Tile, Spotify, and others.
In the quarter, Match suffered a revenue loss with revenue of $787 million falling below estimates of $794 million, and paying users up 3% to 15.9 million. Net income also fell to $120.8 million, down from $180.5 million in the same quarter last year. However, Match said it is seeing signs of growth at Tinder following changes in marketing and product, but it has not yet materialized in its financial results.
For example, Tinder tests “Just for You,” a curated selection of high-quality profiles designed to attract women, and references recent updates to reporting features and the AI-powered selfie verification process.
The company also said it approved a new $1 billion share buyback program and confirmed it would pull its apps out of Russia, citing human rights concerns, a year after rival Bumble announced the same.