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

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has ruled that Apple's plan to allow App Store dating apps to use third-party payment methods for in-app purchases does not sufficiently meet the requirements of a previous ruling. As a result, the ACM has hit Apple with an initial 5 million euro fine as a consequence, and fines will continue to be assessed at 5 million euros per week up to a maximum of 50 million euros until Apple complies.

iOS App Store General Feature Dock
Last week, following Apple's announcement that dating apps in the Dutch ‌App Store‌ would have the option to let users use third-party payments for in-app purchases, the ACM said it would assess whether those changes meet the requirements of a previous ruling. The ACM had previously ruled that Apple's ‌App Store‌ is unfair and Apple was engaging in anti-competitive business practices.

Apple's announced changes fail to "satisfy the requirements," the ACM said today in a press release. "At the moment, dating-app providers can merely express their 'interest'. In addition, Apple has raised several barriers for dating-app providers to the use of third-party payment systems," the ACM added, alluding to the fact that dating apps must first ask and receive approval for a special ‌App Store‌ entitlement to point users to third-party payment methods.

Apple's plan also appears to require developers to choose between offering a third-party in-app purchase option or being able to direct users to outside payment options, and the ACM says Apple must allow developers to offer both options.

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. On December 24, 2021, the court ruled that this part of the order could be published.

One major question about Apple's plans is its intent to continue to receive a commission for in-app purchases made with dating apps, even if the developer uses a third-party payment method. Apple has yet to reveal what the commission will be or how it plans to implement it.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook had previously said that even if developers were to use third-payment methods, Apple would continue to receive a cut for all in-app purchases made but noted that such a system does not yet exist. We've reached out to Apple for comment on the ACM's conclusion and the 5 million euro fine.

Top Rated Comments

mox358 Avatar
29 months ago

At this point, you could say that Apple got to being worth 2 trillion dollars through theft.

That 30% cut is disgusting.
Dev here. That 30% cut is actually great. It means for a flat rate, I don't have to worry about hosting, payment processing, getting my app in front of millions of eyeballs. I don't have to worry about the exchange rate in Tokyo and what that means. I get to spend far less time administrating my business and more time writing code, which is what I want to do. It's probably also cheaper than what I would pay if I did do everything piecemeal and manually, not even counting my time and what that is worth.

Everyone advocating for alternate payment processors is really only supporting billion dollar companies. The only devs who would ever use something like that are those who have a full on dedicated dept to run it (aka Epic, Spotify, Microsoft, Google) and are trying to squeeze every last dollar out to bump the shareprice. You aren't defending small devs or one person shops who don't want to spend all day administrating a business to save $5. I'll gladly pay Apple and Google to do that for me.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
29 months ago
Time to ban dating apps then from the Dutch App Store. Or just leave entirely.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kirky29 Avatar
29 months ago
It would be an interesting experiment to see Apple just pull the App Store there and see what the results would be.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
29 months ago
At this point, it’ll be best to just remove all the dating apps from the Apple store so Apple doesn’t have to deal with this. Not worth the fight.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
29 months ago

Time to ban dating apps then from the Dutch App Store. Or just leave entirely.
Or, let the dating apps use a website and forget about the ios app store.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
29 months ago
Time for Apple to pull out of the Dutch market.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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