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Dutch Antitrust Watchdog Rejects Apple Proposal, Issues 6th Fine

 |  February 28, 2022

Apple has written a letter arguing that the changes it has offered to make to its App Store as available in the Netherlands complies with the law, despite the fact that the antitrust regulator has rejected the proposal as ‘not serious’, reported Reuters.

Apple sent a letter to the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) arguing it has already complied with the watchdog’s order. However, the ACM said in a statement it was not aware of any change in Apple’s position and imposed a new fine, marking the sixth such fine imposed on Apple in as many weeks.

Related: On Dutch Apple Fine, Vestager Says US Tech Giants May Prefer Fines To Compliance

Apple’s practice of requiring developers to use its system exclusively and pay commissions of between 15 and 30% on digital goods purchases has come under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world, many of whom have considered these policies as forms of barriers to entry, thwarting possible competitors and solidifying Apple’s strong position in the App distribution markets worldwide.

The Dutch ruling, which found the company is abusing a dominant market position, applies only in the Netherlands and only for dating apps. However, it could set a precedent for jurisdictions analyzing similar cases. Many experts and commentators have warned of a possible stifling of innovation due to these practices, raising interest among regulators.

The watchdog had already levied five separate weekly $5.7 million fines against Apple for failure to comply with the order, saying that Apple’s proposed solutions put an unfair burden on developers.

A letter from Apple to the ACM dated Feb. 28 seen by Reuters said the solution it has offered would require only a “minor technical change” with no additional costs. The letter argued it is common practice for developers to modify their software to comply with law in various jurisdictions.

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