January 25, 2022 1:13:08 pm
A Dutch regulator has fined Apple Inc. for failing to allow rival payment systems for dating-app providers.
Although the fine — just 5 million euros ($5.7 million) every week with a total limit of 50 million euros — is a fraction of Apple’s $365.8 billion-annual revenue, the decision is a sign regulators are hardening their resolve against the U.S. firm’s payment methods.
“Apple has raised several barriers for dating-app providers to the use of third-party payment systems,” which is at odds with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, according to the statement on ACM’s website.
ACM had previously told Apple to allow dating-apps to give users other payment systems either next to or instead of Apple’s own payment system no later than Jan. 15.
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On the day of the deadline, Apple said it would comply but added it would disagree with the decision and will appeal.
The iPhone maker’s refusal to let app developers steer customers to other ways of paying has been targeted by lawsuits and antitrust investigations across the world. Apple charges a commission of as much as 30% on some app subscriptions, although the U.S. firm reduced the fees for smaller developers last year.
In September, Apple was ordered by a U.S. District Judge to give developers the option of bypassing its commission on in-app purchases, including letting iOS apps use “buttons, external links or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing methods” other than Apple’s payment system. Apple won a reprieve to the ruling last month.
The EU also stepped up a case over payment curbs last year and the U.K. is also looking at in-app purchase rules.
“Apple seemingly forces app providers to make a choice: either refer to payment systems outside of the app or to an alternative payment system,” ACM said. “That is not allowed. Providers must be able to choose both options.”
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