The Netherlands’ antitrust watchdog, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), said today (via Reuters) that Apple will allow customers to pay for various Dutch dating apps using different payment options built into those apps, ending a dispute that left Apple on the hook for $52.58 million in fines .
As many of you know, Apple requires in-app payments for App Store transactions to be made using Apple’s own in-app payment platform, which allows the company to withdraw a reduction of 15% to 30% of the valuation of the transaction. Third-party and alternative payment platforms are not allowed and any developer who provides links to alternative payment options risks being kicked out of the App Store.
Apple imposed fines in the Netherlands totaling $52.58 million
That’s what happened last year when mobile game developer Epic tried to promote its own payment platform for its popular Fortnite game, which would have allowed players to pay less for the currency of the game. game. Apple responded by kicking Epic and the game Fortnite from the App Store. And in the Netherlands, Apple’s failure to allow consumers to pay for dating apps using alternative payment methods resulted in a weekly fine for Apple.
Epic offered its own in-app payment platform to Fortnite users so they could bypass Apple’s in-app payment cut
Apple claimed it complied with the requirements of the Dutch oversight agency and should not be fined. However, the tech giant’s solution was to force Dutch dating app developers to release separate versions of their apps for the US and the Netherlands. This way, Apple could continue to collect its 15% to 30% discount on dating apps installed by its customers in the United States while allowing those in the Netherlands to pay using an alternative payment platform. .
The ACM says this solution has created an “unnecessary barrier”. On the other hand, Apple said that with its plan, “it will comply with its legal obligations in the Netherlands while having the possibility of maintaining its standard terms and conditions in the rest of the world”.
In a statement, the ACM (via Reuters) said: “Apple has changed its unfair terms and will now allow different payment methods in Dutch dating apps. With this concession, Apple will meet the requirements that the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has set under EU and Dutch competition rules. Until recently, dating app customers could only pay using the payment method imposed by Apple.”
The statement goes on to say, “In ACM’s view, Apple has abused its dominant position with these practices. Now dating app providers can let their customers pay in a variety of ways. ACM forced these changes in imposing an order subject to penalty payments.In the end, the sum of all the penalty payments amounted to 50 million euros.
Dating app developers in the Netherlands will still pay Apple 27% of the value of an in-app transaction
Martijn Snoep, Chairman of the Board of ACM, said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of the digital economy. In the digital economy, powerful companies have a special responsibility to maintain a fair and open market. Apple avoided that. liability, and abused its dominant position vis-à-vis dating app providers. We are pleased that Apple has finally aligned its terms with European and Dutch competition rules. This gives app providers more opportunities to compete. And consumers will eventually reap the benefits too.”
Under new rules imposed by Apple, dating app developers will still have to pay Apple a commission for purchases made outside of its App Store payment platform, albeit with a slight discount. Those who paid Apple 30% of the value of an in-app transaction linked to a dating app will now pay 27%.
Apple released a statement today that reads, “We do not believe that any of these changes are in the interest of our users’ privacy or data security. .”