App Store guidelines updated to comply with Dutch government

Apple App Store to offer other payment methods in dating apps

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Today, the Dutch watchdog said Apple will allow alternative payment methods in the App Store for dating apps in the Netherlands. The statement from the Authority for Consumers and Markets comes after Apple announced on Friday that it was again updating App Store guidelines to comply with the Dutch government’s requirements.

With the statement (via Reuters), the Dutch watchdog says Apple’s App Store will meet the requirement that the regulator had set under the European Union and Dutch competition rules:

Apple has changed its unfair conditions, and will now allow different methods of payment in Dutch dating apps. (…) Until recently, customers of dating apps had only been able to pay using the payment method that Apple imposed. In ACM’s opinion, Apple abused its dominant position with those practices. From now on, dating-app providers are able to let their customers pay in different ways. ACM forced these changes by imposing an order subject to periodic penalty payments. In the end, the sum of all penalty payments totaled 50 million euros.

This App Store controversy regarding dating apps started almost a year ago, in August 2022. ACM wanted Apple to change its App Store rules to offer third-party payment alternatives. Then, the Dutch watchdog started fining the Cupertino company 5 million euros each week for ten weeks in a row or until Apple agreed to complain about it.

Apple changed the rules of the App Store, but the ACM thought it wasn’t enough, so it tried to start fining Apple again. Now, the company is finally complaining to the watchdog – although Apple will still collect a fee from alternative payment methods.

 “We want everyone to be able to reap the benefits of the digital economy. In the digital economy, powerful companies have a special responsibility to keep the market fair and open. Apple avoided that responsibility, and abused its dominant position vis-à-vis dating-app providers. We are glad that Apple has finally brought its conditions in line with European and Dutch competition rules. That offers app providers more opportunities to compete. And consumers will ultimately reap the benefits, too,” sayd Martijn Snoep, chairman of the board of ACM.

Yesterday, 9to5Mac‘s Filipe Espósito explained what Apple changed on the App Store to complain to the Dutch watchdog:

Among the changes, dating-app developers in the Netherlands can choose whether they want to offer an alternative payment method combined with Apple’s in-app purchases. Previously, developers had to choose either an alternative payment method or Apple’s.

Another change coming with the update is that the user interface has been adjusted to make the options clearer to both developers and users. Apple has also adjusted the payment-processing-provider criteria for developers who wish to use either of the entitlements.

And now, the 3% discount on in-app purchases also qualifies for the App Store Small Business Program or recurring subscriptions longer than one year.

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