Finally (somewhat) peace for Apple in the Netherlands: The dispute between the iPhone group and the local competition authority Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM), which has been dragging on since at least the end of 2021, seems to be on the verge of a possible solution.
At least the officials are now (more) positive about Apple’s measures taken so far: A statement now states that they are happy that Apple “has finally brought its conditions into line with European and Dutch competition rules”.
More millions every week
Previously, Apple had caught millions in fines from ACM week after week because the company, in the opinion of the antitrust authorities, had not adequately ensured that providers of certain apps could use alternative payment methods. A total of 50 million euros was collected, which could even increase. Apple recently made changes to the options available to its developers, which has now met with a positive response from ACM.
It is now assumed there that the requested changes have been implemented, according to a report by the Reuters news agency. The regulation only applies to operators of dating apps who place them in the App Store for the iPhone. You can now use other payment service providers instead of Apple – only limited to the Dutch market. However, it is not really possible to save much: In this case, Apple only gives a 3 percent discount on its commission of usually 30 percent (sales of up to 1 million US dollars per year: 15 percent). The developers have to pay the rest for all other services of the iPhone group – from the developer tools, the platform to the hosting.
3 percent saved – competition authorities satisfied
According to its own statements, ACM has now conducted a survey among the affected app providers, including the Match Group, which operates Tinder and other well-known services. In addition, we spoke to experts. According to ACM chairman Martijn Snoep, Apple has so far “abused” its market position vis-à-vis dating app providers. With the latest changes, Apple is said to have ended the “unfair conditions”, according to the competition authorities.
Good for Apple: The ACM no longer sees a need to continue imposing periodic fines. It was initially unclear what would happen to the 50 million euros that had already accrued. Apple had appealed the decision and has always emphasized that it sees no advantages for its users in using alternative payment methods. The company claims that privacy and security would be endangered. It is also unclear whether the dating app providers can live with a saving of 3 percent – among other things, they have to offset the effort involved in creating their own app versions for the Netherlands, because, as mentioned, the regulation only applies in this market.
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