Dutch watchdog considers Apple actions 'insufficient' on App Store payment system policies on dating apps

Dutch watchdog considers Apple actions ‘insufficient’ on App Store payment system policies on dating apps

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After being fined 10 times by a Dutch watchdog group, Apple is still under fire for its actions regarding App Store policies relating to dating apps, with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) saying they are “insufficient.” The ACM says it will need up to several weeks to see what actions it will take next.

The journalist Nando Kasteleijn shared on his Twitter this update on Apple’s case as the ACM could be readying another penalty for the Cupertino company:

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) concludes that the changes Apple made on March 30 has made in the conditions for dating apps in the Netherlands are insufficient. Apple still uses unreasonable conditions for dating app providers in the Netherlands. That appears from own research, expert advice, and consultation with market parties.

That said, the Dutch watchdog group says it “does see an improvement in the proposal that Apple makes, but they are not sufficient to comply with European and Dutch regulations.”

For 10 weeks, Apple was fined around $5 million, but the ACM believes the “penalty did not have the desired result,” so this is why the “ACM is preparing a new order subject to penalty” that could take several weeks until a new announcement.


On March 30, Apple started accepting requests from developers of reader apps to allow the use of external links for customers to sign up and manage their accounts outside the App Store. Meanwhile, Apple has also changed its policy on dating apps in the Netherlands after coming under fire by Dutch regulators.

As for Apple’s changes to its policies on dating apps forced by regulators, Dutch developers can now:

1) continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system, 2) use a third-party payment system within the app, or 3) include an in-app link directing users to the developer’s website to complete a purchase.

The changes also include:

  • Removal of the Separate Binary Requirement: Apple is eliminating the requirement that developers of dating apps in the Netherlands who choose to use the above entitlements must create and use a separate binary.
  • Payment Service Provider Criteria: Apple is providing updated and more-specific criteria to evaluate non-Apple payment service providers that developers of dating apps in the Netherlands may use.
  • Consumer Disclosures: Apps that use either entitlement need to include an in-app modal sheet that explains to users that they’re going to make purchases through an external payment system, and the potential impact that choice could have on the user.

Now, we have to wait and see what the Dutch watchdog’s new penalties will be. 9to5Mac will report back when we hear more about this case.

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