Apple must enable dating applications to accept alternate payment modes.


According to a detailed decision published today by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), Apple must allow dating app developers to offer non-Apple payment systems for in-app purchases or face heavy fines. This decision does not apply to any other category of application such as games or productivity applications in the country.

Chairman of the board of ACM, Martijn Snoep, writes that some app providers depend on Apple’s App Store, and Apple is taking advantage of this dependency. Apple has a particular responsibility because of its dominant position. Therefore, Apple must also take the interests of the application providers seriously and set appropriate conditions.

The Dutch regulator said it should not only allow dating app developers to offer alternative payment systems, but also be able to direct users to out-of-app payment options.

Currently, application developers are required to use Apple’s in-app purchase system. Apple spokesperson Marni Goldberg said the company disagreed with ACM’s order and appealed. He further pointed out that Apple does not have a dominant position in the software distribution market in the Netherlands and have invested enormous resources in helping dating app developers reach customers and thrive in the App Store. This applies to the billing of developers of such applications for all services and technologies provided by Apple.

In September, the company announced an agreement with a Japanese regulator that would allow “reader apps” such as Netflix and Kindle to direct users to external registration sites where customers can enter credit card information without using the Apple system. South Korea passed a law in August that would allow developers to use payment systems other than those provided by the platform’s owners.

The United States also planned to open Apple to third-party payment systems after the legal battle with Epic Games, but an appeals court suspended the ruling shortly before it went into effect.

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