Dutch regulator rejects Apple’s appeal over dating app payment rules fine


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The Dutch competition watchdog, ACM, has rejected Apple’s appeal against a fine of $53 million over third-party payment in the App Store. The fine was imposed in 2021 after the regulator ruled that Apple violated Dutch competition laws in the dating app market. It requires Apple to allow developers of dating apps to use other payment systems. Apple had objected to the fine, but the Dutch ACM is adamant on the issue. ACM said that Apple failed to comply with an order limiting its App Store monopoly.

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ACM said thatĀ Apple has met “most of the requirements”, including opening a third-party app store in the Netherlands. It also allows dating apps to use other payment methods. However, there is still an “undisclosed condition” that has not yet been met.

The ACM’s decision to reject the appeal was made as early as July 13 this year. However, it only made its decision public today. Apple responded, “Since the ACM rejected our administrative appeal, we will appeal to the Dutch court.”

Background

The App Store is Apple’s digital distribution platform for mobile apps on iOS devices. Apple charges a commission of up to 30% on all in-app purchases made through the App Store. This has been a contentious issue for many app developers. They argue that the commission is too high and that Apple’s control over the App Store gives it an unfair edge over rivals.

In 2020, the Dutch ACM launched a probe into the App Store after receiving complaints from app developers. The regulator found that Apple’s requirement that all in-app purchases go through its payment system was anti-competitive and violated Dutch competition laws. The regulator ordered Apple to allow developers of dating apps to use alternative payment systems, which would allow them to avoid paying the commission to Apple.

Subsequently, Dutch regulators fined Apple a total of 10 consecutive 5 million euros. In the end, Apple announced last year that it would allow the use of third-party payment systems in Dutch dating apps.

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Apple’s appeal

Apple appealed the fine, arguing that the Dutch regulator’s decision was based on a misinterpretation of Dutch law. The company claims that it has not violated any competition laws. Apple also argued that the regulator’s decision would harm users. It claims that other payment systems are not as secure as its own in-house payment system. Thus, users will be at risk.

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However, the Dutch ACM rejected Apple’s arguments and upheld the fine. The regulator stated that Apple’s requirement that all in-app purchases go through its payment system was anti-competitive. The ACM said that this practice harms rivalry in the dating app market. The regulator also stated that there was no evidence to support Apple’s claim that other payment systems were less secure than Apple’s.

Implications

The Dutch regulator’s decision is a blow to Apple. The company has faced increasing scrutiny over its control of the App Store and its commission on in-app purchases. The decision could also have implications for other regulators around the world who are probing Apple’s practices.

The decision is a victory for app developers, who have long argued that Apple’s commission is too high. They claim that its control of the App Store gives it an unfair edge over its rivals. The decision could also encourage other app developers to challenge Apple’s commission and control of the App Store.

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Final Words

The Dutch regulator, ACM has rejected Apple’s appeal against a fine of $53 million. Apple was fined for not allowing dating apps to use other payment systems. After many consecutive fines, Apple eventually allowed third-party payment systems. However, the ACM claims that the company has yet to meet all its demands. The decision is a blow for Apple and a victory for app developers. This could have implications for other regulators around the world who are probing Apple’s practices.

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