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Apple lowers commission from 30% to 27% in bid to comply with Dutch antitrust order

The iPhone maker has made some changes to allow dating app providers to use third-party payment systems, but that option comes with more work.
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Written by Campbell Kwan, Journalist on
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Image: Shutterstock

Apple has lowered its commission rate to 27% for Dutch dating app developers after it was blasted repeatedly by the Netherlands' consumer watchdog for not making sufficient changes to its app store policies to address competition imbalances.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) first called out Apple in August last year, issuing an order for the iPhone maker to update its app store policies so dating app providers could use payment systems other than the one offered by Apple. The ACM then blasted Apple again last month, accusing the company of failing to make sufficient changes to its app store policies while issuing a weekly €5 million fine in the process.

In response to the weekly fine and order, Apple explained in a blog post over the weekend it would lower its commission rate for dating apps by three percentage points to 27% as well as allow dating app providers to pick from one of two options for using third-party payment systems.

Apple said Dutch dating app providers would now be able to use a third-party payment system within the app or include an in-app link directing users to the developer's website to complete a purchase.

To use either option, however, developers will still need to request an entitlement to do so. Developers must also submit a separate app binary solely on an app's Dutch storefront and report external sales back to Apple to enable a third-party payments system.

It's unclear whether the changes will appease the ACM's concerns as when the regulator issued the weekly fine last month, it said Apple needs to allow dating app developers to be able to both offer a third-party in-app payment system and direct users to outside payment systems.

"That is not allowed," the ACM said at the time.

In announcing the changes, Apple said they were made begrudgingly and it has appealed the ACM's order. In the meantime, Apple said it would comply with the order as it awaits the appeal's outcome.

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