Dutch Regulator Says Apple’s Plan for Third-Party In-App Payments Is Insufficient, Fines Apple 5 Million Euros

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 24 Jan 2022

The market regulator in the Netherlands has fined Apple 5 million euros because its changes to the App Store guidelines do not meet the requirements outlined in a previous ruling related to the use of third-party payment systems in dating apps.

The country’s Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) previously directed Apple to allow dating apps to use third-party payment systems. The ACM has levied the 5 million euro fine as an initial punishment. The total penalty could go up to 50 million euros in steps of 5 million euros every week if Apple does not comply.

The ACM expressed its objections to Apple’s changes in a press release. It said that dating app developers could only express their “interest” in using third-party payment systems. Once the developers voice their interest, the road ahead isn’t easy. The authority noted that the apps would need to ask for and receive permission from Apple for a particular App Store entitlement, allowing them to use third-party payment systems.

Moreover, Apple requires developers to choose between an in-app third-party purchase option and a way to redirect users to external payment options. The ACM opines that Apple should not make developers choose but instead give them both options and the freedom to choose.

“Apple must adjust its conditions for access to the Dutch App Store for dating-app providers. In the App Store, dating-app providers must also be able to use payment systems other than Apple’s payment system. In addition, dating-app providers must have the ability to refer to payment systems outside of the app. This had been laid down in an order subject to periodic penalty payments that ACM imposed on Apple in August 2021.”

At this point, Apple has not revealed how it plans to collect its commission on the payments processed by the third parties. Previously, Apple explained that if it were to allow third-party payment alternatives, it would earn a fixed commission on every transaction processed by a third party. However, the company has not developed such a system yet.

Do you believe Apple will be forced to comply with the Dutch regulation, or will it pay the fine and continue business as usual? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

[Via ACM]