The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has ordered Apple to make it possible for dating app developers to offer alternate payment methods outside of the App Store system. The Cupertino tech giant must comply with the advised changes before January 15, 2022.
Apple must let app developers offer alternate in-app payment options on App Store
Dutch authorities have been investigating Apple’s App Store since 2019 on allegations that the tech giant abuses its dominance in the marketplace. in a decision made in October, unsealed this week, anti-trust regulators ruled that Apple’s requirement that developers use its native in-app payment system was anti-competitive.
The regulator said that Apple imposes “unreasonable conditions” on app developers. “If Apple does not adjust the unreasonable conditions within two months, it will have to pay a periodic penalty of 5 million euros per week up to a maximum of 50 million euros,” the ACM wrote in a statement.
The Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets told Apple of its decision in September 2021. Apple at the time said the decision was under “legal review,” and subsequently filed a court case and asked that the case be handled behind closed doors.
The regulator notes that app developers pay $99 annually to Apple to publish their apps on the App Store. About 15% of them offer paid services in-app, including subscriptions. “If an app provider wishes to offer paid services or subscriptions within its app (like dating apps), Apple imposes additional conditions.”
Apple is undergoing a similar situation in South Korea. The country passed a law that prohibits app store operators from forcing developers to use their own payment systems. The Cupertino tech giant reportedly told the South Korean government that is already in compliance with the law and does not need to modify its marketplace policies, however, legislators are not satisfied.