The Authority for Consumers and Markets in the Netherlands has fined Apple an additional 5 million euros ($5.6 million) on Valentine’s Day for failing to allow dating apps to use third-party payment options in the country. So far, Apple has racked up a 20 million euro fine for non-compliance in this issue, and the amount could go up to 50 million euro.
The ACM first slapped Apple with a 5 million euro fine in mid-January. This is the fourth consecutive week Apple has been fined for failing to provide an actionable plan that would give developers the freedom to use third-party billing systems. In its previous attempt to resolve the situation, Apple offered to charge dating app developers a 27 percent commission on all payments processed by third parties.
The Dutch market regulator believes Apple’s new terms for dating apps are “unreasonable and create an additional barrier.” It added that Apple still does not meet the requirements that it had initially laid out. Although the 27 percent commission structure has several demerits, the regulator did not address it specifically. It says that the developers cannot adjust their apps for Apple’s plan. This point addresses a concern voiced in the developer community that Apple’s 27 percent commission structure is pushing developers to build dedicated apps for the Netherlands at a high added cost, for little to no help in evading the Apple tax. The iPhone maker’s 27 percent commission would be less than the 30 percent commission it charges for the App Store’s default payment system. However, third-party alternatives would charge around 3 percent, leaving developers drowning in the cost of additional resources they spent complying with Apple’s requirements.
ACM also pointed to such pain points in Apple’s plan, primarily the additional costs developers would incur and the challenges associated with informing consumers of the change in the payment system. Apple’s boilerplate response to the dutch regulator’s demands has now been shot down. Do you think the ACM will hit the Cupertino-based company with another hefty fine in a week? Will Apple allow developers to use third-party payment systems as a ready alternative to the App Store system with minimal changes? Tell us in the comments section below.[Via Bloomberg]