Apple will make it easier for Dutch dating apps to use alternative payments


App Store
Will it be enough for the ACM?
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash

Apple this week revealed slightly more relaxed rules for Dutch dating apps that will make it easier for them to offer third-party payment options. It comes after months of fighting with Dutch regulators over new app laws.

One thing Cupertino won’t give up, however, is its 27% commission.

Apple backs down in the Netherlands

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) last year ruled that dating apps should be allowed to offer alternative payments — a freedom strictly prohibited by App Store rules in almost all countries.

Apple confirmed it will appeal that ruling, though it did make changes to its App Store policy for Dutch dating apps in the meantime. Those changes weren’t enough, the ACM said, before fining Apple $57 million for not complying.

This week, however, Apple announced more relaxed rules that should be better received.

Apple changes rules for Dutch dating apps

The biggest change is that Apple no longer requires Dutch developers to build a brand-new app that uses third-party payment systems exclusively. They now have the freedom to offer App Store and alternative options together.

That only applies to apps in the Netherlands, of course, and Apple is still demanding a 27% cut of all payments — even when a third-party payment method is used.

“This is a reduced rate that excludes value related to payment processing and related activities,” Apple explained. So, while it will be great for developers to offers users a choice, it won’t actually be any cheaper.

Apple will also continue to enforce other requirements, including one that states dating apps must display a popup that informs customers “they’re going to make purchases through an external payment system, and the potential impact that choice could have on the user.”

Will this appease the ACM?

“ACM welcomes Apple’s current step,” it said on Monday. “The adjusted proposal should result in definitive conditions for dating-app providers that wish to use the App Store.”

The ACM says its next step is to submit Apple’s newest proposal “to market participants for consultation.” If it is deemed as compliant with the ACM’s requirements, it should bring an end to Apple’s fines.

The ACM warns, however, that it “may impose another order subject to periodic penalty payments (with possibly higher penalties this time around),” if it comes to the conclusion that Apple’s latest proposal isn’t satisfactory.

This is just one of many battles Apple faces over its App Store policies, with other regulators and lawmakers planning legislation that demands more relaxed rules that will make marketplaces fairer and more open.


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