Apple Argues with Dutch Antitrust Regulator Saying Its App Store Policies Comply with Local Laws [Updated]

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 28 Feb 2022

iPhone App Store

Apple has been fined €25 million by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands. The market regulator maintains that the changes to the App Store don’t favor developers of dating apps in the country. The iPhone maker has penned a letter to the market regulator arguing that the App Store changes comply with Dutch laws.

To get you up to speed, Apple was fined €5 million in January when its initial compliance plan was deemed unsuitable by the ACM. The company’s plan stated that dating app developers in the Netherlands would be allowed to use third-party payment systems alongside the App Store default system. However, it mandated that developers maintain separate app binaries for Dutch consumers and give Apple a 27 percent commission on all the transactions processed by the third parties. The proposal didn’t offer developers benefits proportional to the effort required to comply with Apple’s prerequisites.

The Cupertino-based company was subsequently fined €5 million every week because the ACM deemed its plan insufficient. As of February 28, Apple has been fined €25 million for this issue. Last week, The European Union’s head of digital policy, Margrethe Vestager, said that the company would rather part with €50 million in fines than alter the App Store policies to favor developers.

Reuters reports that in a letter dated February 28, Apple has argued that it has complied with the order to allow alternative payment providers on the App Store in the Netherlands. Apple added that the proposed solution would entail just a “minor technical change” with no additional costs.

Eminent app developers have expressed their dissatisfaction with Apple’s proposed changes because Apple collects a 30 percent commission on their earnings through the App Store’s default payment system. After paying the third-party system a commission, developers would not have any real benefit, even if Apple reduced its commission to 27 percent.

Do you think Apple intends to comply with the Dutch ruling or has Margrethe Vestager prophesied Apple’s course of action? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Update: More Details Surface

MacRumors reports that the letter was penned by Apple’s head of compliance, Kyle Andeer. The letter reiterates Apple’s intention and commitment to compliance with local laws in every country. However, the App Store rules don’t vary by country. Andeer notes that asking developers to create a separate app binary for the Netherlands is a “straightforward prerequisite” to ensure Apple complies with the Dutch laws while maintaining its “standard terms and conditions” worldwide.

The letter also notes that creating a separate app binary is not complicated or expensive for developers. Lastly, Andeer agrees that Apple and the ACM “have a difference of opinion” but says that the company remains committed to finding an amicable solution with the ACM to benefit Dutch dating app developers and consumers.

[Via Reuters]