The European Union’s head of digital policy, EVP Margrethe Vestager says that Apple is choosing to pay weekly fines of $5.7 million instead of complying with a Dutch antitrust order requiring it to allow third-party payment options in the App Store for dating apps. Vestager used the company as an example to show how Big Tech intends to “circumvent the rules.”
EU says Apple and Big Tech may prefer to pay fines instead of complying with antitrust rules
Dutch regulators recently fined Apple $5.7 million for the fifth consecutive week, which has added up to $28 million in fines. EVP Vestager says this could be how all Big Tech companies will respond to antitrust rules. As reported by Reuters, she said that Apple’s behavior means “some gatekeepers may be tempted to play for time or try to circumvent the rules.”
“Apple’s conduct in the Netherlands these days may be an example,” she continued. “As we understand it, Apple essentially prefers paying periodic fines, rather than comply with a decision of the Dutch Competition Authority on the terms and conditions for third parties to access its App Store.”
Apple has been fined $5.7 million weekly by Dutch regulators since it missed a January 15, 2022 deadline to make the ordered changes. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets will continue to fine Apple for a maximum of 10 weeks, for a total fine of 50 million euros or until it makes satisfactory changes to the Dutch App Store.
Apple has claimed it is complying with the order. On February 4, Apple made an announcement saying it would charge a 27% commission fee for developers using alternative payment methods for Dutch dating apps in place of its in-app purchase system in the Netherlands. The ACM told Reuters on February 7 that it was looking at the tech giant’s changes to decide if it now complies with the rules. Later on the same day, the regulator fined Apple another $5.7 million.
According to the publication, “the ACM has rejected Apple’s moves as putting an unreasonable burden on software developers and not amounting to compliance.” As the tech giant’s policy requires a new app to be submitted rather than allowing developers to modify existing apps.
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