Apple to let dating apps in the Netherlands use third-party payment systems freely

After €50 million in fines, Apple has changed its App Store policies again.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

Apple has once again updated its App Store policies to now allow dating app providers operating in the Netherlands to take payments using third-party systems, which it hopes will finally settle its dispute with the country's competition regulator.

As part of this change, the company said a 27% commission fee would still apply to payments even if they are made through a third-party system.

Last year, the competition watchdog found Apple's previous unwillingness to allow dating app providers to use payment systems outside of Apple's own system was anti-competitive. This led to the ACM issuing a penalty order consisting of Apple being issued a €5 million fine for every week it failed to meet the regulator's requirements for 10 weeks.

After €20 million of fines, Apple made an update to allow dating apps to use alternative payment systems, but it still imposed various conditions on how they could do so. The ACM was not satisfied with these changes, however, and continued fining Apple.

Earlier this week, Apple was given its 10th weekly €5 million fine to reach the order's penalty cap of €50 million.

With Apple's latest App Store policy update, the ACM is now considering whether to issue another larger periodic fine depending on whether Apple's most recent updates are sufficient for addressing anticompetitive imbalances.

According to the ACM, if the updates lead to "definitive conditions" for dating apps, the watchdog will pass those conditions onto developers for review. If developers are happy with the revised conditions, the ACM will then give Apple its final decision on whether or not the company is in compliance of competition regulation.

Apple continues to disagree with the ACM's original order and has filed an appeal against the €50 million penalty order, but it said the policy updates have been made to fulfil its legal obligations in the Netherlands for the interim.

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