App store conflict in the Netherlands: Apple gives in a bit more

The iPhone group is to pay more than 50 million euros for antitrust violations in dating apps. Now it is said that one wants to rework again.

 App store conflict in the Netherlands: Apple is making a little more effort

Apple and the Dutch competition authority Autoriteit Consument en Markt (ACM) will probably no longer be real friends: the iPhone manufacturer is to pay more than 50 million euros because it has been violating conditions to open its app store in the country for months – at least according to the authorities. Apple has now announced that they have sat down again with ACM and had a “productive conversation” guided. After this, the company decided to make further changes to its app store and the opportunities for developers. However, it is still unclear whether the ACM considers this to be sufficient.

Apple only reacted slowly

Apple had already been asked by the ACM last year to Category – in this case dating apps – to allow alternative payment systems that do not work through the group’s in-app sales function. Since then, this has gradually been allowed, but this was not enough for the ACM because Apple did not really make it easy for the developers. In addition, very little money could be saved by using external payment service providers. Result: The ACM charged Apple millions in fines week after week.

As Apple now writes in its developer portal, they have “further updates” for the “StoreKit External Entitlement” carried out, via which the installation of external payment services is possible after Apple has officially approved this in each case. Among other things, what is new is that the three percent cost savings that Apple is offering developers who process their payments via their own services also apply to participants in the App Store Small Business Program. They only pay 15 percent commission anyway instead of Apple’s usual 30 percent. The turnover must not exceed one million US dollars per year.

User interface revised

Furthermore, Apple has revised the “requirements for the user interface” when using external payment service providers “in consultation with the wishes of ACM” changes. Above all, this should mean that this can be read less as a warning from Apple, which could deter users from using these services. Furthermore, the criteria for the payment service providers are to be “adjusted” (ergo: apparently relaxed). In addition, it is now permitted to use two different entitlements, either the direct integration of an alternative payment service or the use of a link.

In its developer information, however, Apple does not fail to point out again that the decision of the ACM is dissatisfied. The decision is neither in the sense of user security nor in the sense of privacy protection. An appeal was therefore filed against it. It remains to be seen whether Apple’s planned changes in the implementation of the ACM decision will result in the competition authorities being satisfied. As mentioned, the decision only applies to the Netherlands and purely to dating apps, since their makers had explicitly complained to the ACM.

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