Dutch Competition Regulator Rejects Apple Fine Objections

Apple Store in Mumbai. Image credit: Apple

Dutch competition regulator ACM rejects Apple’s objections to 50 milion euros in fines over App Store payment policies

The Dutch competition regulator ACM said on Monday it had rejected objections by Apple to 50 million euros (£43m) in fines levied against it over failure to comply with orders intended to limit the dominance of Apple’s App Store in the country.

Apple said it disagreed with the administrative decision and would appeal in court.

The regulator said Apple has now complied with most of its demands to allow alternative forms of payment for dating apps in the Netherlands but added the company has not yet met an undisclosed condition.

It said it would disclose the condition if it wins against Apple in court.

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Image credit: Apple

In-app payments

In December 2021 the ACM ruled Apple violated Dutch competition law in the dating app market by requiring the use of its own in-app payment tools and pay a commission of 15 to 30 percent.

It ordered the company to adjust the “unreasonable” terms in its App Store for dating app providers and to allow them to use alternative payment systems.

Apple failed to meet a deadline for implementing the changes and the ACM fined it 5 million euros per week, with the fines eventually reaching 50 million euros for the period of non-compliance.

The iPhone maker objected to the fines, saying the ACM had incorrectly defined the relevant markets and had overestimated Apple’s dominance in the dating app market.

‘Not in users’ best interests’

The ACM’s rejection of Apple’s objections, dated 13 July, 2023, was published on Monday.

“We disagree with the ACM’s original order, which degrades investment incentives and is not in the best interests of our users’ privacy or data security,” said Apple in a statement.

“As the ACM has denied our administrative appeal, we will appeal to the Netherlands courts.”

Apple and Google are both facing scrutiny of their app store payment system policies in a number of countries.