Dutch regulators have asked Apple to either allow dating app developers to offer non-Apple payment systems for in-app purchases or face a penalty of up to 50 million euros.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ordered Apple to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its App Store that apply to dating-app providers.
“Dating-app providers are currently not able to choose freely a payment system for purchases made in their dating apps by consumers. If Apple does not adjust the unreasonable conditions within two months, it will have to pay a periodic penalty of 5 million euros per week up to a maximum of 50 million euros,” the ACM said in a statement late on Friday.
This decision by the Dutch authority doesn’t apply to other app categories like games or productivity apps in the country.
The regulator has been probing Apple’s App Store practices since 2019.
Some app providers are dependent on Apple’s App Store, and Apple takes advantage of that dependency, according to Dutch regulators.
“Apple has special responsibilities because of its dominant position. That is why Apple needs to take seriously the interests of app providers too, and set reasonable conditions. That is what we are forcing Apple to do with this order,” said Martijn Snoep, Chairman of the Board of ACM.
App providers pay $99 each year for using the App Store. Almost 85 percent of app providers pay only this fee.
“These are small businesses, but also major companies such as Amazon, Booking or Uber. If an app provider wishes to offer paid services or subscriptions within its app (like dating apps), Apple imposes additional conditions. This situation applies to slightly over 15 per cent of all app providers,” the regulator elaborated.
On iPhones, dating apps can only be offered through the App Store, which makes dating-app providers highly dependent on Apple.
“Dating-app providers thus have little choice but to accept Apple’s conditions,” said the ACM.