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.

app store blue banner
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.

Top Rated Comments

turbineseaplane Avatar
7 weeks ago
The walls are closing in.
Get out in front of all of this Apple and make changes --- before you're forced to

(changes forced by regulation won't be ones Apple will like)
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
genovelle Avatar
7 weeks ago

Good. Apple needs to stop including Safari with MacOS and iOS as well.
Please stop attempting to make those of us that HATE GOOGLE have to deal with unnecessary changes to our ecosystem.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
7 weeks ago
If I wanted Android I would have bought Android. Don’t make iOS like Android.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blazerunner Avatar
7 weeks ago
Judge is right, Apple is anti-competitive.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vasilenko93 Avatar
7 weeks ago
My biggest issue with Apple services is that they are not available everywhere. For example Apple Pay is great, but I cannot use it on my Desktop which is Windows. When buying games on Steam I use PayPal as that has all my cards and linked to my bank account and I use it to send money to some people. What's cool is many sites have the option to pay with PayPal which saves me time as PayPal also has my address. I would prefer to use it.

Than when I bought an iPhone I was forced to give Apple my card information just to sign up for some service on an App. Why!? I already have PayPal installed and signed in, why couldn't I use that!? But okay, lets fully set up Apple Pay as its better and secure...except that's useless to me as I almost never make in app purchase and I cannot use Apple Pay on my Desktop.

This is also why I don't use KeyChain. Sure its better integrated with my phone...but 1Password works on my Desktop and work laptop while KeyChain does not. If Apple ever forces everyone to use KeyChain I will throw my iPhone at the wall.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brandnewshmoney Avatar
7 weeks ago
Even Hitler couldn't survive a war on two fronts. How many fronts is Tim Apple currently fighting on? Unconditional Surrender is inevitable!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

paddle in app purchase

Paddle Plans to Launch Alternative In-App Purchase System on iOS That Circumvents Apple's Fees

Thursday October 7, 2021 1:00 am PDT by
In response to the Epic Games vs. Apple ruling last month, payments platform Paddle today announced that it plans to launch an alternative in-app payment system for iOS that replaces Apple's in-app purchase mechanism. In an emailed press release, Paddle described its payment system as a "true like-for-like, drop-in replacement" for Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, allowing developers to...
app store blue banner epic 1

Judge Says Apple Has Until December 9 to Make App Store Change Letting Developers Link to Alternate Payment Methods

Tuesday November 9, 2021 5:37 pm PST by
Following a virtual hearing earlier today, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has denied Apple's request to delay the implementation of a permanent injunction that will require Apple to make significant App Store changes. As part of the judgement in the Apple v. Epic lawsuit, Judge Gonzalez Rogers is requiring Apple to allow developers to add in-app links to outside websites, paving the way for...
app store blue banner

Apple Could Face Investigation in India Over App Store In-App Purchase System

Thursday September 2, 2021 1:25 am PDT by
Apple could be facing a widespread investigation into the App Store in India, and more specifically, the company's in-app purchasing system, which grants it a 15% to 30% commission for all purchases made, reports Reuters. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which oversees cases of possible anti-competitive and antitrust behavior, is reviewing an antitrust challenge case against Apple...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO: Judge's Decision 'Isn't a Win for Developers or for Consumers,' Fortnite Not Immediately Returning to App Store

Friday September 10, 2021 10:37 am PDT by
The year-long dispute between Epic Games and Apple reached a milestone with Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers delivering a middle-of-the road verdict that isn't quite what Epic Games or Apple wanted. Apple will not be required to support third-party app stores as Epic Games pushed for, but Apple will have to let developers offer "buttons, external links, or other calls to action" to direct customers to ...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic Games vs. Apple Judgment Allows App Store Developers to Link to Alternative Payment Methods

Friday September 10, 2021 8:43 am PDT by
A decision was reached today in the high-profile Epic Games v. Apple trial, with U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruling that Apple's anti-steering conduct is anti-competitive, and ruling in favor of Apple on all other counts. In a 185-page ruling, Judge Rogers said "the Court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws," but...
fortnite apple featured

Epic Games Pays Apple $6 Million as Ordered by Court

Monday September 13, 2021 3:31 pm PDT by
Epic Games today paid Apple $6,000,000 in royalties, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter. As part of the ruling in the ongoing Epic v. Apple legal battle, Epic was last week ordered by the court to pay 30 percent of the revenue that it collected from the Fortnite app using its illicit direct payment option. Back at the start of the dispute between Epic and Apple, Epic added a direct...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic Games CEO to Speak in South Korea Next Week Against the App Store Amid Ongoing Tensions With Apple

Thursday November 11, 2021 1:39 am PST by
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney will appear next week at a conference in South Korea to discuss the fairness of mobile app platforms and ecosystems amid his company's ongoing tension with Apple, according to a press release. Sweeney will be joined by other members and representatives of the "Coalition for App Fairness," a group of developers and companies lobbying against Apple's...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic Games CEO Renews Attack on Apple and Calls for Single, Universal App Store

Tuesday November 16, 2021 3:31 am PST by
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has today renewed his attack on Apple and called for a single, universal app store that works across all platforms (via Bloomberg). Last year, Epic's popular game "Fortnite" became the subject of heated litigation with Apple and Google over the rate of commission on in-app purchases. After Epic broke App Store rules by implementing a direct payment option, the game ...
app store vs developers

Apple's Planned App Store Changes Will Barely Affect the Company's Bottom Line, Says Analyst

Wednesday September 8, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
As a result of legal and regulatory pressures, Apple recently announced some upcoming changes to its App Store policies, such as letting developers email customers about payment options available outside of their iOS app and allowing "reader" apps like Spotify and Netflix to include an in-app link to their website for account signup. Apple said the changes "will help make the App Store an...
timcook

Tim Cook: Users Who Want to Sideload Apps Can Use Android, While the iPhone Experience Maximizes 'Security and Privacy'

Tuesday November 9, 2021 8:51 am PST by
Amid a heightened amount of scrutiny and tension surrounding the App Store and how users download and install apps on the iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said today that customers who wish to sideload apps should consider purchasing an Android device as the experience offered by the iPhone maximizes their security and privacy. Speaking at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, Cook said that...