Apple responds to Dutch antitrust regulators and says it is already compliant with their orders
For those of you who don’t know, Apple has been getting some fines from the Netherlands due to it not allowing alternative payment systems for Dutch dating apps. The company was facing its fifth fine for the issue, but now, AppleInsider reports that Apple has responded to Dutch authorities, claiming it is indeed complying with their orders.
Apple sends letter to Dutch authorities, claiming it is indeed complying with their orders
There has been an ongoing legal dispute about the App Store payment system when it comes to Dutch apps, and more specifically, dating apps. Authorities from the Netherlands were not happy with the commission fee that the App Store takes on purchases, and requested an alternative payment system to be allowed. However, it seemed that Apple didn’t comply with their orders, so it received fines from Dutch regulators.
But Apple seems to disagree with the statement that it isn’t complying. Apple reportedly informed the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands that it does comply with the order to allow dating apps in the country to use alternative payment systems.
In a letter, Apple stated that the requirement it has for separate binaries complies with the order. The letter was sent by Apple Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer to the ACM, following a meeting with the two parties. The requirement that Apple has is that a developer should submit a separate binary for the Dutch App Store if they want to use a third-party payment processor.
Apple believes requiring a separate app binary makes it compliant with Dutch law
An app binary is a file that contains the code that the device should execute for the app to run. Requiring a separate binary means that the app should have a specific file with code just for the Dutch App Store. Pretty much, this means one version of the app just for the Dutch App Store, and another version of the same app for App Stores outside the Netherlands.The ACM complained that this requirement is unreasonable and creates an unnecessary barrier. On the other hand, though, Apple claimed that it is a straightforward prerequisite that ensures “that Apple complies with its legal obligations in the Netherlands while at the same time having the ability to maintain its standard terms and conditions in the rest of the world”.
The letter also stated that this is routine practice for developers, and they have offered separate binaries for different jurisdictions. Apple gives Match Group as an example, which is a dating app provider that has different binaries of its apps in numerous countries.
Apple states that it wants to ensure to be compliant with Dutch law, but not to apply Dutch law outside of the Netherlands. Additionally, Apple insists it the process of creating a separate binary for an app is “not costly or difficult for a developer”, and many developers have engaged in this voluntarily.
Therefore, Apple underlines in the letter that this solution is fully compliant with Dutch law.
Apple has been fined by Dutch regulators five times on the matter so far
Earlier, we reported on a new antitrust order issued by the Netherlands in regards to Apple’s payment technology and dating apps. The fine issued amounted to €5 million, and so far 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) had issued a statement that Apple had not provided any new proposals that would help it comply with the ACM’s requirements, and therefore it had to pay a fifth penalty payment.
The previous Dutch regulator statement also said 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 had 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 continued 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.