Netherlands Challenges Apple Over App Store Commissions

Apple Store in Mumbai. Image credit: Apple

Dutch competition regulator challenging Apple App Store commission fees in court, in move that could have broad implications

The Netherlands’ competition regulator is reportedly taking issue with the commissions Apple charges for dating apps in the country, in a move that could have broader implications for the fees charged by mobile app stores.

In a filing that has not been made public the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said it was taking issue with Apple’s fees for datingn app providers, according to reports from Bloomberg and other media outlets.

The ACM alluded to the issue in a statement earlier this month that Apple had complied with most of its app store conditions in an antitrust case that began in 2021, but that the firm had not met an undisclosed condition.

That condition is Apple’s commission fees, the filing reportedly says.

apple store battersea 04
Apple Store Battersea. Image credit: Apple

Commission fees

In the ACM’s statement earlier this month it said it had rejected Apple’s objections to 50 million euros (£44m) in fines the agency had issued over the dating app case.

Apple challenged the administrative decision in a court case that is ongong.

The company had made changes to its app store in the Netherlands, including offering alternative forms of payment for dating apps in the country.

In February of last year Apple cut commissions for dating app makers in the Netherlands to 27 percent from 30 percent. The ACM never disclosed whether that was a satisfactory change.

But in the filing, the ACM reportedly said that “Apple … harms dating app providers by charging them an additional, and inexplicably higher, fee for the same services” it offers to other app makers.

Legal challenges

If the ACM prevails in court the case could have broad implications for mobile app stores, which charge commission fees up to 30 percent for purchases made through the apps.

The fees have been criticised by developers including Epic Games, which launched a legal challenge against Apple over the issue.

Apple said in July it plans to petition the US Supreme Court over the outcome of the Epic case, which said it must allow third-party developers to provide links to payment options outside the App Store, bypassing Apple’s own payment system and commissions.