Apple to Allow In-App Third-Party Payment Options for First Time in the Netherlands

Apple has announced that it will allow third-party payment options for in-app purchases for dating apps in the Netherlands, in the first ever concession of its kind.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
In a message posted on its developer site late on Friday, Apple announced that it will comply with a Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ruling that compels the company to allow third-party payment services to pay for in-app purchases in dating apps. Dutch dating apps that link out to or use a third-party in-app payment provider will still need to pay a commission to Apple on transactions.

Recent orders from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will allow developers of dating apps on the App Store in the Netherlands to share additional payment processing options with users.

[...]

To comply with the ACM's order, we're introducing two optional new entitlements exclusively applicable to dating apps on the Netherlands App Store that provide additional payment processing options for users. Dating app developers who want to continue using Apple's in-app purchase system may do so and no further action is needed.

To implement third-party payment options in Dutch dating apps, developers will need to use Apple's entitlements, but the company warned developers that this will involve additional responsibilities and pose a number of new risks:

Before considering applying for one of these entitlements, it's important to understand that some App Store features that you may use won't be available to your customers, in part because we cannot validate the security and safety of payments that take place outside of the App Store's private and secure payment system. Because Apple will not be directly aware of purchases made using alternative methods, Apple will not be able to assist users with refunds, purchase history, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services through these alternative purchasing methods. You will be responsible for addressing such issues with customers.

Apple added that it disagrees with the ACM ruling, believes it is "not in our users' best interest," and has appealed the decision to a higher court. Specifically, Apple explained that it is "concerned these changes could compromise the user experience, and create new threats to user privacy and data security."

Apple highlighted the benefits of its own payment system to developers, which continues to be available as an option for developers to use in Dutch dating apps:

Apple designed the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for people to discover and download apps. Apple's in-app purchase system, an integral part of our world-class commerce platform, offers people a private and secure user experience across apps and Apple devices, and makes it easy for them to manage their purchases and subscriptions for digital goods and services.

The order originated from a Dutch investigation started in 2019 that examined whether Apple's business practices amounted to an abuse of market power. The investigation included a complaint from Match Group, the owner of Tinder, which claimed that Apple's rules prevented it from communicating with its customers directly about payments.

The ACM said that Apple imposes "unreasonable conditions" by forbidding user choice about in-app purchase methods. Apple was warned that it had to allow dating apps to offer third-party payment options by Saturday, January 15 or face a fine of up to 50 million euros ($57 million). Apple said that it will provide further information about the mandated changes shortly.

Top Rated Comments

Michael Scrip Avatar
14 months ago

Pathetic attempt on apple’s side to circumvent the law.
The Netherlands law (ruling) states Apple must allow third-party payments in dating apps in the Netherlands. So they are.

But there is not a law that eliminates all other commission fees or platform fees.

Apple can still collect a fee from developers of dating apps in the Netherlands.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
14 months ago

That they can do this shows they are a monopoly that requires governments to stop them.
So what's the actual issue here?

Is 15%, 27%, or 30% too high? Is anything higher than 0% too high in your mind? Should platforms be forbidden to collect any platform fees or commission fees? At all?

What exactly do you want governments to "stop" here?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lysingur Avatar
14 months ago
There are streaming apps created by shady companies who ask their cam models to encourage their fans to buy tokens on their official website, in clear violation of Apple's policy. Most of them also make it so if you use Apple Pay, the number of tokens you purchase is about 30 to 40% fewer than if you buy them directly. As if that's not bad enough, the link to buy tokens on their official site will selectively leak your credit card information to scammers, especially if the cards are foreign.

This kind of ruling will let similar scams take place out in the open without the unsuspecting having any kind of recourse in case they are scammed. Most people will be easily led to buy tokens outside of App Store and under the watchful eyes of Apple when developers make the tradeoff skews so much to one side. Except the hidden risk isn't explained to you until it's too late.

The security vs. freedom argument is really a red herring. It's always about finding the right balance between the two. Today it's dating apps. Tomorrow it'll be any app that incurs recurring payments. And before you know it, there is no longer any kind of policing in the App Store and you're out there to fend for yourself against pirates and looters (figuratively speaking).
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
14 months ago

The move will circumvent Apple's 15 to 30 percent commission on in-app purchases...Apple added that it disagrees with the ACM ruling, believes it is "not in our users' best interest"

Speaking as a user, I consider a potential 15% to 30% reduction in IAP prices charged by a developer to be in my best interest.
That's only if the developers lower the price. It's the developers who set the price that you see and that you pay.

I'd imagine most developers would still charge the same for IAP items even if they had the commission fees lowered.

But I'm happy to be wrong.

:P
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bgraham Avatar
14 months ago

So the consumer is "protected" if they click a different button to make a payment on some other screen or web page?

Alright.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Protected from Apple’s 30% monopoly pricing, yes.

If the consumer wants Apple’s “protection” so badly, they’d be willing to pay 30% more for it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Carnegie Avatar
14 months ago

That they can do this shows they are a monopoly that requires governments to stop them.
With regard to its intellectual property, yes, Apple is absolutely a monopoly. That's how intellectual property rights, by design, work - they grant legal monopolies. If you want to use Apple's IP, you need its permission. And it is allowed to impose a range of terms in exchange for granting such permission, to include charging a commission if someone wishes to use its IP in certain ways. It may allow certain uses without any charge, or with some minimal up front charge. It may allow certain uses with a flat per transaction or per unit fee. It may allow certain uses with a percentage fee. The terms Apple has been imposing are fairly typical when it comes to licensing intellectual property.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Expected to Feature Wi-Fi 6E Like Latest Macs and iPad Pro

Wednesday January 25, 2023 5:39 pm PST by
The iPhone 15 will support Wi-Fi 6E, according to a research note shared this week by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley. The analysts did not specify whether the feature will be available on all models or limited to the Pro models. Apple has added Wi-Fi 6E support to a handful of devices so far, including the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Max MacBook Pro

Thursday January 26, 2023 12:14 pm PST by
New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are available in Apple retail stores and are already in the hands of customers, and we picked up one of the new M2 Max machines to answer all of the questions MacRumors readers considering a purchase might have. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Yesterday, we asked MacRumors fans on...
Mac Pro 2019 Apple

Mac Pro Enthusiasts Raise Concerns Over Upgrade Limitations of Apple Silicon

Thursday January 26, 2023 6:30 am PST by
The new Mac Pro coming later this year is expected to feature the same spacious modular design as the 2019 model, but with fresh concerns over its lack of upgradeability surfacing, some users are beginning to wonder what the transition away from Intel architecture actually means for Apple's most powerful Mac. The current Intel Mac Pro that Apple sells is popular with creative professionals...
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...