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Dutch regulator says Apple should offer dating apps alternative in-app payment options

Dutch regulator says Apple should offer dating apps alternative in-app payment options

Apple must allow dating app developers to offer non-Apple payment systems for in-app purchases or face hefty fines, according to a detailed ruling issued today by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). The regulator has been investigating the company's App Store practices since 2019, but Reuters reports that it decided to focus on dating apps after receiving complaints from owners of dating services such as Match Group, Tinder, and OKCupid. Did.

The decision does not apply to other app categories, such as games or productivity apps, in the country.

"Some app providers rely on Apple's App Store, and Apple takes advantage of that dependency," writes ACM's chairman of the board, Martijn Snope. “Apple has special responsibilities because of its dominant position. So Apple also needs to take the interests of app providers seriously and set reasonable terms."

In addition to allowing dating app developers to offer alternative payment systems, the Dutch regulator says they should also allow users to indicate payment options outside of the app. If the company fails to do so by 15 January, it faces a fine of 5 million euros-per-week, up to a maximum of 50 million euros.

Currently, app developers have to use Apple's in-app purchase system, which lets the company deduct 15- to 30 percent from any purchases customers make within the app.

In a statement to The Verge, Apple spokeswoman Marnie Goldberg said the company "disagreeed with the order issued by the ACM and [has] filed an appeal." She further stated that "Apple does not have a dominant position in the market for software distribution in the Netherlands, it has invested tremendous resources in helping dating app developers reach customers and thrive on the App Store, and the EU and have the right under Dutch law to charge the developers of these apps for all services and technologies that Apple provides to them."

Still, governments around the world are scrutinizing Apple's App Store rules. In September, the company announced a deal with a Japanese regulator, allowing "reader apps" such as Netflix and Kindle to point users to external sign-up pages where customers provide credit card information, bypassing Apple's system. can do. South Korea passed a law in August that lets developers use payment systems other than those provided by platform owners and is reportedly deciding what to do for Apple and Google to comply. Will happen.

The US was also planning to open up Apple to third-party payment systems as a result of a legal battle with Epic Games, but an appeals court blocked that decision just before it took effect, which could take months to resolve. Were.

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