On Monday, Dutch antitrust regulator imposed another antitrust fine on Apple. The regulator is punishing the company for failing to allow Dutch software application makers to use third-party payment methods on the App Store. The regulator is issuing a fine of 5 million euros per week for not permitting dating apps to use third-party payment platforms. This is the fifth week and the total fine is now 25 million euros. The regulator will continue to fine the company weekly until it complies with the directive.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) fined Apple 5 million euros a week for missing a Jan. 15 deadline to complete changes ordered by the regulator. The App Store payment policy requires app developers to use the Apple Pay system exclusively. However, the App Store charges a commission of up to 30%. This policy has been subject to antitrust authorities and lawmakers in many countries (especially the United States) frowns at it.
Apple once claimed that it complied with an order issued by the ACM in December. The company claims that it is complying because “it is abusing its market dominance and must make changes,”. However, the Dutch regulator said Apple did not comply. ACM claims the company is rather imposing “unnecessary and unreasonable” conditions on dating app developers.
In addition, ACM has made a requirement that developers who want to use non-Apple payment methods must submit a new app to the App Store. The developer will then have to convince their customers to switch to the new version. ACM said Apple’s new payment terms for dating apps were “unreasonable and would create additional obstacles”. The regulator claims that presently, Apple “still does not meet the antitrust authorities request”.
Apple fails to obey ACM
Apple had “set up several hurdles” for dating apps that want to use third-party payment platforms. For example, developers must submit a rights application form on Apple’s website. Also, the rights can only be used for new binary apps released separately on the App Store in the Netherlands.
Apple is also forcing dating apps to choose between the App Store’s standard in-app purchase system or other payment systems, ACM said. The regulator said dating apps must be able to offer both options in the Netherlands.
Apple appealed the ACM order, arguing that alternative payment systems in the App Store would pose privacy and security risks to customers. Apple also claims that it will not be able to assist customers with refund requests, subscription management, and other issues with purchasing digital goods and services through alternative systems.