Apple has just been fined a ninth €5 million ($5.5 million) in the Netherlands for failing to allow Dutch dating apps to process transactions using a dating service. third-party payment, as required by the European country’s competition watchdog.
And if iGiant continues to reject the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) claims, it will receive a tenth and final fine of €5 million for ignoring the Netherlands’ competition watchdog. after maximizing the fine at 50 million euros ($55 million), or around five hours of annual profit based on Apple’s 2021 financial results.
Thereafter, it is not known what will happen, but it seems likely that the matter will return to court in the Netherlands.
On Monday, Nando Kasteleijn, journalist for NOS, reported that the ACM had penalized Apple for the ninth time, in accordance with the commitment made by the agency in January to impose a fine of 5 million euros per week on the iPhone company.
The ACM in August 2021 determined that Apple was abusing its dominant market position by imposing unreasonable limitations on dating app makers in the Dutch App Store. The government agency found it unreasonable that only Apple could collect payments – and a significant sales commission – for dating apps in the Dutch App Store and ordered Apple to allow app developers to use apps. other payment systems.
Apple has not responded to the ACM’s satisfaction, so the agency announced in January that it would fine Apple €5 million each week until it complies, until to a maximum of 50 million euros.
That’s less than two hours of revenue for Apple, which earned $378.35 billion in 2021.
On Feb. 3, Apple responded by reducing its required revenue share from 30% to 27% for companies with annual revenue over $1 million. App developers at the time dismissed the company’s decision as an effort to make alternative payment mechanisms as painful and expensive as possible.
The ACM, still unhappy with Apple, continued to issue weekly fines. Then in late February, Apple reportedly sent a letter to the ACM claiming that the company had complied with the ACM order, a position the ACM did not accept.
“I understand that currently we have a difference of opinion that may ultimately need to be resolved in court,” reads the letter signed by Apple Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer, according to Reuters.
In the ACM statement published by Kasteleijn, the competition watchdog said that Apple had made a new proposal to comply with its requirements. The post says the ACM intends to evaluate Apple’s proposal and speak to affected parties.
The register asked Apple for comment. As you can imagine, we have not had an answer.
Since 2020, when Epic Games challenged Apple in the US and other countries over its requirement that in-app payments go through Apple’s own payment system, the iPhone biz has been beleaguered by efforts to weaken its control over its iOS ecosystem.
In November 2020, Apple made a significant concession by halving its commission from 30% for in-app purchases to 15% for businesses with up to $1 million in revenue per year. But big companies forced to follow Apple’s App Store rules and give up 30% of in-app sales want more favorable terms. To date, Apple is still battling these legal and regulatory challenges, but has lost ground in Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands.
The ACM decision in the Netherlands only applies to dating apps from the Dutch App Store, but Apple is likely concerned that the decision will apply to a wider set of apps and spread to other countries.
In South Korea earlier this month, lawmakers approved an enforcement rule in support of last year’s amendment to the country’s telecommunications business law. The rule, according to Reuters, prohibits companies like Apple and Google from requiring a specific payment method. ®