App Store's Dutch dating app payment policies are 'unreasonable,' regulator says

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in iOS
Apple shouldn't force developers into creating more versions of dating apps if they want to take in-app payments using third-party processors, the dutch antitrust regulator has declared, with Apple still failing to abide by its App Store ruling.




The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets has issued yet another weekly fine against Apple for non-compliance with its App Store dating app order, after conducting another review of the situation. The 5 million euro ($5.65 million) brings the total fines over the matter to 20 million euro ($22.61 million).

In Monday's statement, the ACM complains about Apple's requirement for developers to create a specific version of their app to be submitted to the App Store, if it is a dating app serving the Netherlands and is either linking users away from the app to facilitate an in-app payment, or is using a third-party payment processor within the app itself.

The ACM says "the revised conditions that Apple has imposed on dating-app providers are unreasonable, and create an unnecessary barrier." Since the policy demands a completely separate app to be created, rather than modifying an existing app to add the alternate payments, ACM finds it an "unreasonable condition that is at odds with the requirements that Apple had set out."

It is thought that the measure hurts dating app providers, by costing them time and effort to inform users of changes and the need to switch app to use the alternate payment method, as well as other app development costs.

"In addition, ACM has doubts about several other elements of the revised conditions," the regulator warns, which could mean more issues could be raised before Apple reaches a more compliant state.

Previously, ACM has objected to Apple's offering of a choice to developers as an either-or decision, namely to either link to an external site or use a third-party system within the app, but not both options. On January 22, the ACM said that providers must be given the ability "to choose both options."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    I misunderstood the headline—I thought it was dating app where the couple went halves on splitting the bill at dinner.
  • Reply 2 of 22
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    KTR
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Not following the logic of how an additional SKU of the same app that has alternate payments would be "unreasonable". 
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,363member
    Not following the logic of how an additional SKU of the same app that has alternate payments would be "unreasonable". 
    Not necessary and causes customer confusion.  Exactly the kind of trick an actor who doesn't agree with a ruling and wants to undermine it would pull.  Regulators tend to look down on such shenanigans.
    Ofergatorguydarkvader
  • Reply 5 of 22
    crowley said: Not necessary and causes customer confusion.  Exactly the kind of trick an actor who doesn't agree with a ruling and wants to undermine it would pull.  Regulators tend to look down on such shenanigans.
    Last time I checked, multiple SKUs for hardware/software are fairly common in the computer industry. Could someone be confused? Sure. Is it "unreasonable"? No. 
    edited February 14 StrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 22
    I misunderstood the headline—I thought it was dating app where the couple went halves on splitting the bill at dinner.
    Ah, wouldn’t it be ironic if these shenanigans came to redefine what the expression “going dutch” means?
    swat671
  • Reply 7 of 22
    Having done the development for adding payments into an app, I can see why Apple might be doing this not just out of spite. Payment processing is complex and Apple does a great job of making it seamless. Trying to patch in some third-party payment system to live along side the existing Apple blessed system might be a technical/payment processing nightmare, so it might not be unreasonable that two versions of the app are required.
    foregoneconclusion
  • Reply 8 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,363member
    loopless said:
    Having done the development for adding payments into an app, I can see why Apple might be doing this not just out of spite. Payment processing is complex and Apple does a great job of making it seamless. Trying to patch in some third-party payment system to live along side the existing Apple blessed system might be a technical/payment processing nightmare, so it might not be unreasonable that two versions of the app are required.
    Surely that’s a decision for the developer, not Apple?
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Can a vendor setup their goods in the Amazon.com store, then use their own alternate checkout & payment processing system? Or do they have to use the mechanisms provided by Amazon, and any backend rules established by Amazon?
    urahara
  • Reply 10 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,363member
    Can a vendor setup their goods in the Amazon.com store, then use their own alternate checkout & payment processing system? Or do they have to use the mechanisms provided by Amazon, and any backend rules established by Amazon?
    What relevance does that have to dating apps in the Netherlands on the iOS store?
    darkvader
  • Reply 11 of 22
    aderutter said:
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    Or, ya know, just follow the rules...
    darkvader
  • Reply 12 of 22
    I find it funny that Apple bends over backwards to appease authoritarian regimes like China and Russia, but to allow a third-party payment system? That's just a step too far. Interesting line to draw. I just hope that Apple doesn't think that this is a good hill to die on. 
    gatorguydarkvader
  • Reply 13 of 22
    aderutter said:
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    I agree.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,088member
    Can a vendor setup their goods in the Amazon.com store, then use their own alternate checkout & payment processing system? Or do they have to use the mechanisms provided by Amazon, and any backend rules established by Amazon?
    Agree with this analogy, why does the real on-line shopping monopoly of Amazon not get the same degree of attention as an App Store duopoly?  I constantly mystified why this gets a pass— the real third party sellers are constantly been placed at multiple disadvantages on the Amazon marketplace.  Is it just a failure of regulators imagination?  Too much navel-gazing with their phones too think beyond their little brains?

    I know people will rebut that Amazon has competition from Walmart etc etc but really they don’t…nothing comes close in North America for the expanse of their reach.
    StrangeDaysviclauyyc
  • Reply 15 of 22
    crowley said:
    Can a vendor setup their goods in the Amazon.com store, then use their own alternate checkout & payment processing system? Or do they have to use the mechanisms provided by Amazon, and any backend rules established by Amazon?
    What relevance does that have to dating apps in the Netherlands on the iOS store?
    Because it’s essentially the same argument, obviously -- that third-party vendors ought to have the right to implement their own checkout & payment processing. I don’t think anyone considers it a right of Amazon marketplace vendors so it’s curious that so many in software forums do for app developers. I’d argue it’s personal bias — software people think they should get to do what they want to do, but don’t think vendors in Amazon or Walmarts should get to implement their own processing systems. This is curious.
    edited February 15 viclauyyc
  • Reply 16 of 22
    KTRKTR Posts: 244member
    aderutter said:
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    I agree.  Or just just close the App Store in that country.  Not worth giving them free cash
  • Reply 17 of 22
    hriw-annon@xs4all.nl[email protected] Posts: 61unconfirmed, member
    aderutter said:
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    That would be anti-competitive.
    They would have to ban dating apps everywhere.
    darkvader
  • Reply 18 of 22
    hriw-annon@xs4all.nl[email protected] Posts: 61unconfirmed, member
    KTR said:
    aderutter said:
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    I agree.  Or just just close the App Store in that country.  Not worth giving them free cash
    "Free cash" in not relevant. The ACM has no issue with the commission.
    At least not officially.

    I suspect much of this will be overturned on appeal, or become moot after the App Store mechanics and policies restructuring which is bound to happen.
    Because lots of regulatory stuff is coming all over the world.

    Apple is dragging it's feet until there is some clarity from regulators and lawmakers on what is going to be allowed and mandatory for platform owners.
    Apple is not going to make major changes until they know what they come up with will be enough.
    Apple does not know what will be enough because regulators and lawmakers don't know either.
    They are not really tech savvy and are still trying to figure out what they want.
    All they have is a vague feeling that Big Tech is too powerful and they want to be seen to be doing something about it.
    This will stay messy for a while.

    edited February 15
  • Reply 19 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,363member
    aderutter said:
    I’m thinking Apple should just ban dating apps in the Netherlands.
    That would be anti-competitive.
    They would have to ban dating apps everywhere.
    Not even slightly true.  That's not how anti-competitive behaviour works.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    badmonk said:
    Can a vendor setup their goods in the Amazon.com store, then use their own alternate checkout & payment processing system? Or do they have to use the mechanisms provided by Amazon, and any backend rules established by Amazon?
    Agree with this analogy, why does the real on-line shopping monopoly of Amazon not get the same degree of attention as an App Store duopoly?  I constantly mystified why this gets a pass— the real third party sellers are constantly been placed at multiple disadvantages on the Amazon marketplace.  Is it just a failure of regulators imagination?  Too much navel-gazing with their phones too think beyond their little brains?

    I know people will rebut that Amazon has competition from Walmart etc etc but really they don’t…nothing comes close in North America for the expanse of their reach.
    Oh my this argument is old and tireless, Do the same rules apply to the MAC? the Mac has an App Store and the WEB where you can buy the same app for the SAME platform  and pay a different vendor. I can buy Word on the MAC APP STORE or I can buy it from Microsoft direct. I get the same app - the same software, I just had a choice who I bought it from. Does this work for the iPhone? NO - I can only go through the App Store on the iPhone to get a particular app at what ever apple says can be done on that store. The same does not apply to the Mac.

    I don't know why people will not admit that. If we get another store a user can choose where they want to buy from.  Choice is competition. Funny how back in the day everyone was up in arms over Internet explorer being bundled. But when another company does this - it's all fine. Sure we had linux back then too, but the issue was only over Microsoft. hmmm. 
    darkvader
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