Apple Agrees to Let Dutch Dating Apps Use Third-Party Payments

Apple is now fully compliant with a Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (AMC) ruling requiring it to allow dating apps in the Netherlands to use third-party payment methods, the antitrust regulator said in a statement on Saturday (via Reuters).

The conflict had been a 50 million euros ($52.58 million USD)-sized thorn in Apple’s side for months.

Following an investigation that lasted more than two years, the AMC deemed Apple’s App Store payment policy to be anti-competitive in October 2021. Apple announced its intentions to comply with the watchdog’s ruling in January but had been dragging its feet since.

The ACM, in turn, slapped Apple with one multimillion-dollar fine after the other for not fully complying with its order to open the App Store up to third-party payment processors for dating apps.

“In the digital economy, powerful companies have a special responsibility to keep the market fair and open. Apple avoided that responsibility, and abused its dominant position vis-à-vis dating-app providers,” said Martijn Snoep, chairman of the board of ACM.

“We are glad that Apple has finally brought its conditions in line with European and Dutch competition rules.”

Dating apps in the Netherlands will now be able to forego the App Store payment system, which cuts Apple in for a mandatory commission of up to 30% on all app sales and in-app purchases.

Apple has said it will still charge a commission on payments handled by third-party processors. However, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant will give app developers a discount on these transactions.

On Friday, Apple published rules explaining how developers of dating apps offered in the Netherlands can skip its in-app payment systems.

Apple said in the updated developer rules for dating apps in the Netherlands that:

We don’t believe some of these changes are in the best interests of our users’ privacy or data security. Because Apple is committed to constructive engagement with regulators, we’re making the additional changes at the ACM’s request. As we’ve previously said, we disagree with the ACM’s original order and are appealing it.

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