Apple's In-App Purchase Rules Are Anti-Competitive, Rules Dutch Antitrust Watchdog
Apple's in-app purchase requirements are anti-competitive, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has decided, reports Reuters. The ACM has ordered Apple to make changes to the rules that force developers to use in-app payment options.
The Dutch antitrust watchdog has been investigating Apple since 2019, and while the probe started out as a look into whether Apple's App Store practices are an abuse of dominant market position, it was scaled back to focus on dating apps.
Tinder owner Match Group said that Apple's in-app purchase were preventing it from directly communicating with customers about payments.
The ACM told Apple about its decision on in-app purchases last month, and it was the first antitrust regulator to decide that Apple has abused its market power in the App Store. Apple has not been fined, but the ACM wants it to make changes to in-app purchase rules.
A final decision on the matter is under legal review and it will be published laster this year.
In related news from Japanese site Nikkei, Japan's Fair Trade Commission is launching an investigation into whether Apple and Google are leveraging their dominance in the smartphone OS market to eliminate competition and limit options for consumers.
The Japanese FTC will conduct interviews and surveys with OS operators, app developers, and smartphone users, and will aim to create a report outlining OS market structure and the reasons why competition "has remained static."
Apple is facing similar antitrust investigations and legal issues in multiple countries, including the United States. Sweeping antitrust legislation has been introduced, and earlier this year, the Epic v. Apple case resulted in a ruling requiring Apple to allow developers to include "external links or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing." Apple will need to implement these rules starting in December.