Apple Racks Up Its Ninth Fine Over Dutch Dating Apps Payment Dispute

BY Anu Joy

Published 22 Mar 2022

app store

Apple has been hit with yet another 5 million euro ($5.5 million) fine over an antitrust order related to Dutch dating apps. The order states that the iPhone maker should allow local dating apps to use third-party payment options instead of its in-app payment method. The Cupertino-based company has submitted a new proposal to the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The ACM said that it is studying the new proposals to determine if they adhere to the body’s rules. In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesperson for the Dutch antitrust body stated:

“We will now assess the substance of these proposals. In that context, we will also sit down with various market participants. Our aim is to complete this assessment as soon as possible.

It should be noted that, until last weekend, Apple still had not met ACM’s requirements. That is why it has to pay a ninth penalty payment, which means the total amount that Apple must pay currently stands at €45 million euros.”

If you haven’t been following this dispute, the ACM first hit Apple with a 5 million euro fine back in January. At the time, the iPhone maker agreed to comply with the Dutch watchdog’s competition rules and bend App Store rules for dating apps in the Netherlands so they can offer users alternative payment systems for in-app purchases.

However, Apple wasn’t going to let go of its 30 percent commission on IAPs so easily. It required developers to create separate app binaries for the Netherlands at their own expense. Additionally, the company said it would collect a commission of 27 percent on the payments processed by third parties. This didn’t benefit developers compared to the effort required to ensure compliance with Apple’s prerequisites. The company’s reluctance to part with the commission didn’t go unnoticed and was fined 5 million euros for every week it delayed compliance. So far, Apple has been fined a total of 45 million euros and the ACM has shot down several proposed plans for compliance.

However, the ACM can only fine Apple a maximum of 50 million euros. In the past, The European Union’s head of digital policy Margrethe Vestager said the Cupertino giant would rather cough up money for “periodic fines” than part with its recurring revenue. Do you think Apple will probably go this route? Tell us in the comments section.

[Via TechCrunch]