Dutch Regulators to Meet With Dating App Providers to Assess Apple's Plan for Alternate In-App Payment Options

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands plans to assess Apple's announced plans for allowing dating apps on the App Store in the country to use third-party payment methods, ensuring those plans "meet the requirements" of a previous ruling.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
Over the weekend, Apple announced that it would exclusively allow dating apps on the ‌App Store‌ in the Netherlands to use third-party payment methods for in-app purchases. The rule change is the first of its kind for Apple, which previously required all developers worldwide to use its own system for all in-app purchases.

Apple's concessions came following a December ruling from the ACM that, by restricting dating apps from using third-party payment methods, Apple is engaging in an "abuse of market power." The ACM threatened to fine Apple up to a maximum of 50 million euros per week if it did not change its policies.

Now that Apple has announced changes, the ACM wants to assess whether those changes meet the requirements of its previous ruling, according to a press release. As part of its probe into the changes, the ACM will meet with dating app providers, such as The Match Group, which owns Tinder, to ensure Apple's changes sufficiently address concerns.

While Apple will allow dating apps in the Netherlands to use third-party payment methods, there are some caveats to the concessions. Importantly, Apple will continue to receive a commission even for purchases made outside the ‌App Store‌ in-app purchasing system, although Apple has yet to reveal what that commission rate will be.

Developers will also be required to maintain separate app binaries for distribution in the Netherlands if they choose to offer alternate in-app purchasing options.

From a user experience perspective, Apple is warning that by using third-party payment methods, the experience of requesting a refund, managing subscriptions, viewing purchase history, and more will be made significantly more complicated.

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 said it plans to appeal the ACM's ruling and has expressed concern that the order "could compromise the user experience, and create new threats to user privacy and data security."

Top Rated Comments

neuropsychguy Avatar
24 weeks ago

Apple and Google are very desperate to think this commission idea will fly with global regulators. It won't.
So what’s the solution? Allow app developers to pay nothing to Apple? Apple makes developers pay developer fees based on app downloads? What’s the incentive for Apple to have an App Store if there is no commission?

Regulators/governments are going to lose if they get to force Apple to work for free.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Phazer Avatar
24 weeks ago
Apple and Google are very desperate to think this commission idea will fly with global regulators. It won't.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elvisimprsntr Avatar
24 weeks ago
Is ‘Dating apps’ such a huge deal there that there are special government rules!!? If they had made a rule for social media apps, which would include dating apps too, it was understandable. Also, I wonder the greedy chat app companies would label themselves as dating apps to avail this payment functionality.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and is taxed by the government. I suspect the government and industry doesn’t want to share its revenue with Apple.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tucupeis Avatar
24 weeks ago
so, apple has to list an app for free, and collect no commission on in app purchases? why would apple want to maintain such an app store?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
falainber Avatar
24 weeks ago

This is I’m sure just the beginning of the snowball. This isn’t sustainable for Apple to be forced to host these apps for free without being compensated. Think of Amazon, or any brick and mortar store. You can’t post a product listing on there saying “hey, don’t buy from here cause we’ll have to pay a fee. Instead, meet us in the back alley and we’ll sell you the same thing. Totally legit don’t worry”.

Sure it’s not perfect and anything this big will surely have holes where things get through, but I’d still like to see these separate app stores and alternative payment methods not pass.
You are confused. Apple is charging for services they do not provide (dating). That should be illegal. They can charge for distributing the app. But if they start abusing this too, then the governments should mandate alternative app stores.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
falainber Avatar
24 weeks ago

Seems we have this all figured out, why they don't want the App Store involved for the dissemination and tracking of Netherland Dating apps financial data. Don't want a third party figuring out who's involved and whose doing what. Apple must be thinking why should we help prop up this industry using their store services for free.
Nobody is using Apple services here. Dating service is provided by other companies which develop the apps and host the service. It sounds like you want Internet providers to take fees for for everything internet too because that's what Apple is doing here.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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