Apple allows Dutch dating apps to use 3rd party payment providers

Gandalf_The_Grey

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We reported in December that, after a two-year investigation, which narrowed to focussing on dating apps, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) came to the conclusion that Apple Inc broke its competition laws and ordered Apple to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its App Store that apply to dating-app providers.

The court ordered Apple to allow dating-apps providers to use alternative payment systems by the 15th of January or face a fine of up to 50 million euros ($56.6 million) and 5 million euros per week.

Now, for the first time, Apple has submitted to the court ruling and enabled dating apps to direct users to an external website to make payments or use a 3rd party payment service.

Apple has introduced two new optional “entitlements” to enable this, but Apple says when developers use these options Apple will not help users with refunds, payment issues or subscription management.

The concession does not mean Apple has given up, however, and are appealing the decision, saying:

“Because we do not believe these orders are in our users’ best interests, we have appealed the ACM’s decision to a higher court. We’re concerned these changes could compromise the user experience, and create new threats to user privacy and data security. In the meantime, we are obligated to make the mandated changes which we’re launching today and we will provide further information shortly.”

This is not the first case Apple lost, but the first where they have made substantial changes in response.

Apple and Google have lost similar cases in the USA and South Korea, but these cases have been stalled in appeal or Google has found a way around the issue by charging developers a commission based on their sales which amounts to a similar cut of their revenue.
 

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Apple confirms they will move to commission-based fee for Dutch dating apps using 3rd party payment providers
We reported three days ago that, for the first time, Apple has submitted to the court ruling and enabled Dutch dating apps to direct users to an external website to make payments or use a 3rd party payment service.

Apple has introduced two new optional “entitlements” to enable this, but Apple says when developers use these options Apple will not help users with refunds, payment issues or subscription management.

Apple will however not be offering their distribution service for free. In their developer documentation, Apple confirmed that transactions facilitated by these new entitlements will still be subject to a platform commission paid to Apple.

This is the same strategy Google is using in South Korea, where Google’s commission was 26%, meaning developers did not save anything significant by using third party providers.

Developers will also face a number of other challenges if they use alternate providers. They would need to submit a Dutch-only binary, and will only be able to offer a 3rd party in-app payment or link to an external website payment, but not both.

It seems likely Apple will be complying with the letter but not the spirit of the court order, which found Apple imposed unreasonable conditions on developers.