Apple’s third-party payment proposal isn’t enough for Dutch regulators

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (or ACM) has rejected proposed changes to Apple’s App Store that would allow dating app developers to use third-party payment systems. according 9to5Mac and the App Fairness Coalition. The Dutch regulator ordered the change in December and has been back and forth with the company about how it should be implemented, charging Apple millions in fines along the way. Now, Apple could face more penalties.

According a journalist’s tweet translated by 9to5Mac (and now available in full, below, in English), the regulator says Apple’s latest proposal to allow developers to use third-party payment systems is an “improvement” on its earlier ideas, but still “not enough to comply with European standards and Dutch regulations.” Apple did not immediately respond to the edgecomment request.

Apple’s latest proposal, which it unveiled on March 27, said that dating app developers could use either a third-party payment system or Apple’s, not both, and that developers would have to warn users that they were about to interact with a system that Apple did not control. The same is true if the developer sends users to their site to complete a purchase.

Apple also said that developers who use alternative payment systems still owe the company a 27 percent commission on in-app sales, compared with 30 percent for most in-app payments. application that use their own system. (If developers earned less than $1 million in revenue a year, that would be very unfavorable compared to Apple’s Small Business Program rate of 15 percent.)

Apple had previously proposed that dating app developers, the only people affected by the ACM order, should submit separate versions of their apps to the Netherlands. His plan in March removed that requirement after the regulator rejected the earlier proposal as “unreasonable.”

In late March, the ACM said it was evaluating Apple’s proposal after fining the company approximately $55 million. The regulator said it “could impose another order subject to periodic penalty payments (with possibly higher penalties this time)” if it finds Apple’s proposal is not enough. It had been assessing penalties on a weekly basis, charging the company €5 million (about $5.6 million) for each week that it did not comply, up to a maximum of €50 million (about $55 million at the time). Now that the cap has been reached, the regulator is reportedly working on additional sanctions, saying the original ones “didn’t have the desired result”.

The App Fairness Coalition has applauded the ACM’s decision. The advocacy group is made up of companies like Epic Games, Spotify, Basecamp, and Match Group (which makes dating apps like Tinder,, and OkCupid) that oppose the App Store’s high fees and its role as a singular venue. . to get software for iPhones and iPads. in a statement issued on Mondaythe group said it “stands ready to support ACM as it continues to seek fair treatment and remedies for developers” even as Apple “continues to strive to protect its monopoly power at all costs.”

The coalition also said that Apple’s rejected proposal “imposed unnecessary and frictional requirements intended to discourage dating app developers from taking advantage of the ACM order.”

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has concluded that the changes Apple made on March 30 to its conditions for dating apps in the Netherlands are insufficient. Apple still uses unfair terms for dating app providers in the Netherlands. This has been revealed by ACM research, expert opinions and a consultation among market participants.

ACM sees improvements in the proposals that Apple has put forward, but they still do not meet European and Dutch standards. In the meantime, ACM continues to have discussions with Apple on these issues.

Since the previous order subject to penalty payments did not achieve the desired result, ACM is currently preparing a new order subject to penalty payments.

Once we have published this new order subject to coercive fines, we can comment on its content as well as the points in which Apple continues to fail. That can take several weeks.

Update May 3 at 8:22 am ET: Updated to add the full ACM statement.

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