Last year, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ordered Apple to allow developers of dating apps to use third-party payment services (for apps in the Dutch App Store). Apple announced plans to do so, but authorities were not happy with Cupertino.
First, because Apple hasn’t implemented the required changes yet. The second and more important issue is that even if these changes are implemented, they will not be sufficient to meet the needs of ACM.
The changes planned by Apple include several hoops that developers have to jump through. Worst of all, developers have to decide between referring users to a payment system outside the app or using a third-party payment system. It shouldn’t be an either-or problem, ACM says, and developers should be able to do both.
For Apple’s failure to implement the changes within a reasonable time (as seen by the ACM), the company will have to pay a fine of 5 million euros. To encourage it to move faster, the ACM is also imposing periodic fines – 5 million euros per week, up to a maximum of 50 million euros – until ACM’s requirements are met.
Even if developers choose to use a third-party payment system, the ACM doesn’t mention that Apple still wants to cut fees by 30%, so part of the plan seems acceptable. Note that this is all related to Apple’s operations in the Netherlands only – it remains to be seen whether other EU countries adopt similar policies.