Dutch Antitrust Group Says Apple Must Change App Store Payment Rules

Netherlands ACM

The Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ruled last month that Apple’s requirement that software developers use the tech giant’s in-app payment system is anti-competitive and says it must change that setup, four people told Reuters, according to a report on Thursday (Oct. 7).

The Dutch antitrust authority’s investigation started in 2019 with a wider focus, but eventually narrowed to target dating apps, based in part on a complaint by Match Group, which owns dating service Tinder. The company said Apple was keeping it from contacting customers directly about delinquent payments.

Under Apple’s App Store payment policies, commissions range between 15-30%.

ACM hasn’t fined Apple for its anti-competitive actions, but ordered changes to its in-app payment setup, the sources told Reuters, adding that Apple asked the Rotterdam District Court to block publication of the ruling during its appeal.

The European Commission launched an investigation in 2020 focused on whether Apple’s App Store rules favor its own apps over competing products, such as Apple Music getting preferential treatment over Spotify.

Last month, a U.S. judge said Apple must make it easier for apps to promote their own payment systems, but Epic Games appealed the ruling, saying it doesn’t go far enough. Apple also settled an antitrust complaint in Japan by allowing some music, video and book apps to promote purchase options outside their apps.

Related news: Apple May Face EU Charges Over Blocking Rivals’ Access to iPhone NFC

Apple could face charges and an antitrust fine next year from the European Union (EU) over its near-field communications (NFC) chip technology, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday (Oct. 6).

The tech giant is facing similar charges by Dutch antitrust regulators over Apple Pay — specifically that Apple’s software only allows the developer’s own payment app to connect to NFC technology and blocks other enterprises whose apps are downloaded and used on the devices from embedding the NFC payment functionality.

Apple could face fines or other penalties.