Apple about to get a fifth fine by Dutch authorities over its dating-app payment commission



Apple has had a long battle over the App Store payment system and more specifically, for not allowing developers to add their own payment systems to their apps on iPhones and iPad. The whole ordeal was made public with game-maker Epic’s legal battle against Apple, but Epic has not been the only one who disagrees with Apple’s way of doing things in the App Store. TechCrunch reports that Cupertino is about to get fined for a fifth time by The Netherlands’ competition authority.

Apple gets another fine by the Netherlands because it doesn’t allow alternative payments for Dutch dating apps

There was an antitrust order issued by the Netherlands in regards to Apple’s payment technology and dating apps. The fine issued today amounts to €5 million, and now Apple has been fined €25 million (which could reportedly go as high as a total of €50 million). The competition authority has accused Cupertino of continuously throwing barriers rather than offering solutions. The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has issued a statement that Apple has not provided any new proposals that would help it comply with the ACM’s requirements, and therefore it has to pay a fifth penalty payment. So far, the regulator body has fined the tech giant 25 million euros.

The statement also says that Apple’s attitude is “regrettable, especially so since ACM’s requirements were upheld in court on December 24”, and it underlines that what Apple has provided as solutions were creating too many barriers for dating app developers, who have their own payment systems that they want to use.

The statement continues on to say that Apple is a company with a dominant position in the market and as such, it has extra responsibilities to buyers and society. The ACM implies that Apple’s current behavior is an abuse of its dominant position.

It seems that if Apple fails to comply this time, the ACM could impose another order with periodic penalty payments.

The thing is that, as many of you may probably know, Apple takes a commission fee on any purchase made via the App Store, and this payment system is the only way you can pay for an app on iPhones or iPads. This has been the issue of Epic, the game-maker of Fortnite which had an ordeal with Apple last year and a lawsuit followed.

The current standoff that Apple has with a competition regulator in a single European country seems to foreshadow a larger-scale battle, especially in the European Union. The EU has also been looking into ways to make the digital market a place that’s fairer to competition.

Currently, the European Union has the Digital Markets Act (DMA) bill proposed, which marked some of the biggest tech companies such as Apple and Google as “gatekeepers”, and could force these companies to pay penalties of up to 10% of their global annual turnover (that is, if the bill gets passed, it has yet to be adopted). Nevertheless, it could be a massive task for regulators to make the tech giants comply with antitrust regulations.

Another antitrust act by the European Union, the Digital Services Act, seems to be progressing more quickly than the DMA, as we reported recently. According to EU officials, the DSA could get concluded by June, as it is currently undergoing negotiations with European countries in order to reach an agreement.

The Digital Services Act is focused on forcing tech giants (in particular, social media giants but not only) to exercise more strict moderation on content published on their platforms in order to take down illegal or harmful content in a timely manner. The DSA and the DMA are both proposals aimed at having some control over tech giants and their increasing dominance in the tech industry.





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