Dutch Regulator Says Apple Shouldn't Force Dating Apps to Offer Separate App for Alternative Payments

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) today fined Apple an additional five million euros for allegedly failing to satisfy the requirements it set regarding alternative payment systems for dating apps. This is the fourth consecutive week that the ACM has fined Apple, with the total penalty now standing at 20 million euros.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
In a press release, the ACM said that Apple's requirement that dating app providers must submit a separate app binary in the Netherlands if they wish to offer alternative payment systems is unreasonable and disadvantageous.

The ACM said it also has concerns about a number of other requirements set by Apple, such as forcing dating apps to choose between the App Store's standard in-app purchase system or alternative payment systems. The competition regulator has previously said that dating apps must be able to offer both options in the Netherlands.

The ACM will continue to fine Apple five million euros per week, up to a maximum of 50 million euros, until it feels the company has fully complied with the order.

Earlier this month, Apple provided additional details for dating apps wishing to offer alternative payment systems in the Netherlands, including that it will charge a 27% commission on purchases made in dating apps that use alternative payment systems.

Apple has appealed the ACM's order, arguing that alternative payment systems in the App Store pose privacy and security risks for customers. Apple also said it would be unable to assist customers with refund requests, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services through alternative systems.

Top Rated Comments

erikkfi Avatar
14 weeks ago
I suspect Apple is going to come to regret undertaking thermonuclear war on a European nation's regulatory body. You've got to think that the EU regulators are closely watching the way Apple is thumbing its nose at the situation and repeatedly violating both the letter and spirit of what the Netherlands agency is trying to do here.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wanha Avatar
14 weeks ago

WHAT THE HELL DO THEY WANT APPLE TO DO? Honestly, send them a note stating, step by step, what The Government Thy God wants Apple to do. Until then, screw it all, because nothing Apple does will be enough to stop additional fines, it seems...
Do you honestly not understand what they want Apple to do?

I mean, this isn't very complicated, but let me break it down for you:

The Dutch regulator has ordered Apple to give users multiple payment options.

Apple won't oblige and is instead forcing app developers to either choose to include Apple's own payment processor or an an outside party, but won't allow both.

It would seem the reason Apple is doing this is that they are counting on app developers not bothering to do all that work for a market as small as the Netherlands, thereby forcing the status quo to remain in place.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Danfango Avatar
14 weeks ago
Dating apps are the one place apple should have control over payments. They are universally nasty rip off scum and the regulator here is doing the end users a disservice at the whim of the business.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kc9hzn Avatar
14 weeks ago
Match Group already has it set up so you can get a subscription outside of the App Store and use it on the iOS app. And I’d trust Apple’s IAP policies over Match Group’s (Match Group is notorious for phantom subscriptions and locking you into long term subscriptions instead of monthly, and they’ve been caught with the “fake profile messages you to get you to pay for the upgrade that let’s you send messages” con before). Why is it always the most dodgy of developers complaining over Apple’s take?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BC2009 Avatar
14 weeks ago
The ACM is ridiculous. Expecting a multinational company like Apple to be able to special case dating apps in a specific country WITHOUT making developers submit 2 versions of the app shows a complete misunderstanding of how software development works.

A reason it has to be a separate sku AND pick one form of payment is so Apple SDK can carve out this special case without breaking every other kind of app and all apps for every other country.

This should simply be a link out to their website to pay. It warns the user and then launches Safari (not in-app WebView) and let’s the user go deal with the website to subscribe. This is what they should all agree on. In-app has the money go through Apple and web based has the money go through third party. And then tell them to account for Apple’s commission separately.

Apple should NOT have to provide or allow third party in-app purchasing because it can be abused to look like Apple purchasing and can confuse the user. Apple should also not be preventing links to purchasing on the open web.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elvisimprsntr Avatar
14 weeks ago
As Ive said before, "Dating" apps is a polite term for legal prostitution, which the Netherlands does not want to share the revenue with Apple. Government officials are likely the ones using said "Dating" apps, which they would like to prevent their significant others from finding out.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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