The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands told Reuters that it is reviewing Apple’s proposal to see if it complies with the rules. The authority earlier instructed Apple to allow developers of dating apps to use third-party payment systems. The iPhone maker proposed charging a 27 percent commission in the plan under review.
To get you up to speed, the ACM directed Apple to allow all dating app developers in the Netherlands to use third-party payment systems. The ACM deemed the Cupertino giant’s initial compliance plan inadequate and slapped it with a 5 million euro fine that would be levied every week until it complied. At the time, Apple insisted it complied with the rules in the Netherlands, but the ACM differed. On February 4, Apple hurriedly submitted a plan that proposed collecting a 27 percent commission for using third-party payment systems for processing in-app purchases.
The ACM is now reviewing this plan. The antitrust regulator noted that previously, Apple did not implement its plans but only laid them out and allowed developers to register their interest.
At first, Apple’s proposal of a 27 percent commission might seem like a better deal than the 30 percent commission it charges for using the App Store’s default payment system. However, several developers highlighted various demerits associated, such as:
- Developers would need to choose between a third-party payment service within the app, redirecting to an external website, or Apple’s offering.
- The developers would directly be tasked with handling queries related to “refunds, purchase history, subscription management,” etc.
- The dating app would have to display an intimidating-looking sheet before redirecting users to third-party platforms.
- Developers could be compelled to create a separate app only available in the Netherlands.
And after you pay your ~3% to your payment processor, Apple’s 27% commission takes you right back up to 30%.
Come on, THIS is comedy. Amazing, ridiculous comedy.
I’d be surprised if a single app ever took them up on this.
(And that’s exactly by design.)
— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) February 4, 2022
Absolutely vile. This says everything about @tim_cook’s Apple and what it thinks of developers. I hope the company gets exactly what it deserves. Everybody on their executive team should be ashamed, and some of them should not be here when it’s all over. We all see you https://t.co/cLOAqWXnU5
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) February 4, 2022
All things considered, most small developers would be unable to comply with Apple’s prerequisites or find it unreasonable to invest in the development costs to save on a monthly commission. Not to mention, third-party payment gateways also charge the developers a commission that hovers around the 3 percent mark. This effectively negates any benefit developers could get from Apple’s most current compliance plan.
Do you think the market regulator would allow Apple to implement a compliance plan that doesn’t seem to benefit developers in any way? Tell us in the comments section below.
Update: ACM Fines Apple Another 5 Million Euro
Reuters reports that the ACM has levied another 5 million euros ($5.7 million) fine on the tech giant for the third consecutive week. The regulator claims Apple still hasn’t provided enough information to assess its compliance with the orders. In a statement, the ACM said it is “disappointed in Apple’s behavior and actions.”[Via Reuters]