Apple’s App Store payments policy has just suffered a further blow in the Netherlands, where the Consumer and Markets Authority, or ACM, the country’s main competition regulator, has set the rules . violated Dutch competition law by not allowing dating apps to be offered to users alternative payment options.
In one decision published on Christmas Eve, ACM said the terms that apply to providers of dating apps, which are the same for all developers, were unreasonable. He ordered Apple to rectify its policy and allow developers of dating apps to offer users other payment options. and outside of the app. If Apple does not comply with the regulator’s decision within two months, it faces a fine of up to $ 56.5 million.
The ACM initially began reviewing Apple’s in-app payments policy in 2019, according to Reuters, fearing to abuse its dominant position in the market. The company requires developers to use its in-app payment system, prohibiting them from tying or directing users to other payment methods.and takes a 15-30% discount on every purchase. However, during the investigation the scope was narrowed down to focus on dating apps.
One of the biggest players in the dating apps industry, Match Group, which owns several popular dating apps including Tinder, Plenty of Fish and Hinge, has filed a complaint with the ACM regarding the rules of the App. Apple Store, Reuters reported. Match Group alleged that Apple’s policies hamper its direct communication with customers about payments.
In announcing the ACM’s decision, Martijn Snoep, chairman of the regulator’s board, said that protecting people and businesses from abuse of market power in the digital economy was one of the regulator’s most important tasks.
âSome app providers depend on the Apple App Store, and Apple takes advantage of that dependency. Apple has special responsibilities because of its dominant position, âsaid Snoep in a declaration. âThat’s why Apple must also take the interests of application vendors seriously and set reasonable terms. That’s what we’re forcing Apple to do with this command.
In recent times, various countries, including the United States, have scrutinized the payment policy of the Apple App Store. In September, a new south korean law went into effect, banning Apple and Google from requiring developers to use their integrated payment systems.
The same month, Apple announced a deal with Japan’s competition regulator on “reading apps” or apps that offer content subscriptions, including magazines, newspapers, books, music and videos. Under this agreement, Apple will allow developers of these apps to include a single external link to an alternative payment option, such as their own websites.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Apple is defending its App Store payment policy in the Epic vs. Apple Case. The judge in this case, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, ruled against Apple and said it should allow developers to use “external buttons or links” to direct users to alternative payment options outside of the App Store. Apple appealed the decision and was granted a time limit for compliance, which means that it should not yet give developers the option of offering alternative payment options.
An Apple spokesperson told Gizmodo on Sunday that the App Store is “a safe and trusted place for users” which provides a great business opportunity for all app developers. Spokesman rebuffed ACM’s claim that Apple has a dominant position in the Netherlands and stated that the company has appealed the decision of the regulator.
“We do not agree with the order issued by the ACM and have filed an appeal,” the company spokesperson said in an email.. âApple does not have a dominant position in the software distribution market in the Netherlands, has invested huge resources to help dating app developers reach customers and thrive on the App Store, and has the right under EU and Dutch law to charge developers for such applications. apps for a fee for all the services and technologies Apple provides them.
Gizmodo reached out to Match Group on Sunday to request comment on the ACM decision, but had not received a response at the time of posting. We’ll make sure to update this article if we have any news.