Apple’s third-party payment proposal is not enough for Dutch regulators

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (or ACM) has rejected Apple’s proposed changes to the App Store that would allow dating app developers to use third-party payment systems. 9to5Mac and the Coalition for App Fairness. The Dutch regulator ordered the change in December and has been talking back and forth with the company about how to implement it — and Apple has charged millions in fines along the way. Now Apple could face further fines.

According to a tweet from a journalist translated by 9to5Mac (and now available in full, in English below), the regulator says Apple’s most recent proposal to let developers use third-party payment systems is an “improvement” over its previous ideas, but it’s still “not enough.” to comply with European and Dutch regulations.” Apple did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment.

Apple’s latest proposal, submitted on March 27, said dating app developers could use one of both a third-party payment system or Apple’s, not both, and that developers should warn users that they were about to interact with a system beyond Apple’s control. The same is true if the developer sends users to their site to complete a purchase.

Apple also said developers who use alternative payment systems still owe the company a 27 percent commission on in-app sales, compared to the 30 percent it costs from most in-app payments using its own system. . (If the developers were making less than $1 million in annual revenue, that would be very unfavorable compared to Apple’s Small Business Program rate of 15 percent.)

Apple had previously proposed that dating app developers – the only people affected by ACM’s order – should submit separate versions of their apps for the Netherlands. The plan in March dropped that requirement after the regulator rejected the previous proposal as “unreasonable”.

In late March, ACM said it was evaluating Apple’s proposal after fined the company about $55 million. The regulator said it could impose “another cease and desist order (with potentially higher fines this time)” if it found Apple’s proposal insufficient. It had reviewed fines on a weekly basis and charged the company €5 million (about $5.6 million) each week – up to a maximum of €50 million (then about $55 million). Now that the limit has been reached, the regulator is reportedly working on additional penalties, because the originals “didn’t have the desired result”.

The Coalition for App Fairness applauds ACM’s decision. The advocacy group is made up of companies like Epic Games, Spotify, Basecamp, and Match Group (which makes dating apps like Tinder, Match.com, and OkCupid) that oppose the App Store’s high fees and its role as the only place to buy software. available for iPhones and iPads. In a statement released on Monday, the group said it “stands ready to support ACM as it continues to seek fair treatment and remedies for developers,” even as Apple “continues to dig deep into its monopoly power at all costs.” to protect .”

The coalition also said Apple’s rejected proposal “imposed unnecessary requirements that created friction with the aim of discouraging dating app developers from taking advantage of the ACM order.”

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has come to the conclusion that the changes Apple made on March 30 to its conditions for dating apps in the Netherlands are insufficient. Apple still uses unfair terms and conditions for dating app providers in the Netherlands. This is apparent from an investigation by the ACM, expert advice and a consultation among market parties

ACM does see improvements in the proposals Apple has made, but they do not yet comply with European and Dutch rules. In the meantime, ACM will continue to discuss this with Apple.

Because the previous order subject to a penalty did not produce the desired result, ACM is currently preparing a new order subject to a penalty.

Once we have published this new cease and desist order, we will be able to respond to both the substance and the points where Apple is still in default. That could take several weeks.

Update May 3 08:22 ET: Updated to add ACM’s full statement.

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