Regulator says Apple's Dutch App Store payment climb down doesn't go far enough

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App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple had planned to give Dutch App Store developers the chance to use third-party payment systems in dating apps.
  • Dutch authorities have released a statement to say that the move "fails to satisfy" their requirements.
  • Apple has been fined five million euros and that could increase to 50 million.

Apple's recent plans to work its way around Dutch App Store payment concerns have backfired, with the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) saying that they don't "satisfy requirements" set by the regulator.

Writing in a press release, the regulator also warned Apple that it could end up paying 50 million euros as a result of its non-compliance.

Apple had previously said that it would allow developers of dating apps, made available via its Dutch App Store, to use third-party payment systems with a fee applied. Apple also gave developers the opportunity to "express their interest" in such an opportunity. And the regulator doesn't believe that's enough. It also isn't keen on the way Apple has "raised several barriers" that dating app developers must contend with.

Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements on several points. The most important one is that Apple has failed to adjust its conditions, as a result of which dating-app providers are still unable to use other payment systems. 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. That, too, is at odds with ACM's requirements. For example, Apple seemingly forces app providers to make a choice: either refer to payment systems outside of the app or to an alternative payment system. That is not allowed. Providers must be able to choose both options.

Apple has received a slap on the wrist for the way it's so far handled the affair, and it could end up costing it up to 50 million euros, or $57 million, as a result.

ACM has informed Apple that its statements do not satisfy the requirements laid down in the order subject to periodic penalty payments. Apple is still obligated to act in accordance with said order. If it fails to do so, Apple will have to pay each week a penalty payment of 5 million euros up to a maximum of 50 million euros.

The ACM believes that Apple hasn't moved quickly enough, although Apple will surely contend that making changes to the way its App Store and the submission process works takes longer than the time it was given.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.