Dutch Watchdog Agency Rules In Apple Investigation

(PatriotWise.com)- In the latest regulatory setback for Apple, the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has determined that Apple’s rules requiring software developers to use its in-app payment system are anti-competitive and has ordered the company to make changes.

Apple’s app-story payment policies, especially its requirement that app developers exclusively use its payment system from which Apple receives between 15-30% commissions, have long drawn complaints from developers.

Launched in 2019, the Dutch investigation was initially looking into whether Apple’s practices amounted to an abuse of a dominant market position, but was later reduced in scope to focus primarily on dating market apps.

Match Group, owner of the popular dating service Tinder, had filed a complaint that Apple’s rules were hindering it from direct communications with its customers about payments.

The ACM last month informed Apple of its decision, making the Dutch the first antitrust regulator to make a finding that Apple has abused market power in their app store. Currently, Apple is facing similar challenges in multiple countries.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets itself has not publicly released the details of its ruling. However, the regulator previously said that it expects to publish the results of its decision sometime this year.

Reuters spoke with sources who said that while no fine has been levied against Apple, the ACM has demanded changes to the in-app payment system.

These sources also claim that Apple has asked the Rotterdam District Court to block the publication of the ACM’s ruling. A court spokesman confirmed the sources’ claim, but refused to say when a decision is expected.

In 2020, the European Commission launched a parallel investigation into Apple’s app store. But the focus of that investigation is on whether app store rules favor Apple apps over competing products – for example Apple Music over Spotify.

In September, a US judge ordered Apple to make it easier for apps to promote alternative payments. However, the plaintiff in the case, Epic Games, is appealing the judge’s ruling saying that the order does not go far enough.