Apple fined $5.6 mn per week over policies for Dutch dating apps

Apple CEO Tim Cook. (File Photo: IANS)

London, Jan 25 (IANS) The Dutch consumer watchdog has announced to penalise Apple 5 million euros (nearly $5.6 million) per week for failing to make necessary changes in its App Store policies regarding payment systems for dating app providers.

Last week, Apple made updates to its app store policies in response to an earlier order by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) but the watchdog found it to be unsatisfactory.

“This means that Apple now has to pay ACM the first penalty payment of 5 million euros,” it said in a statement late on Monday.

ACM informed Apple that if it fails to adhere to its order, it will have to pay each week a penalty payment of 5 million euros up to a maximum of 50 million euros.

Stressing that Apple must adjust its conditions for access to the Dutch App Store for dating-app providers, the Dutch antitrust authority said that in the App Store, dating-app providers must also be able to use payment systems other than Apple’s payment system.

“In addition, dating-app providers must have the ability to refer to payment systems outside of the app,” said the ACM.

The first ACM order came in August 2021 and in December, the court ruled that this part of the order could be published.

The Dutch watchdog said Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements on several points.

“The most important one is that Apple has failed to adjust its conditions, as a result of which dating-app providers are still unable to use other payment systems. At the moment, dating-app providers can merely express their ainterest’,” said the ACM.

In addition, Apple has raised several barriers for dating-app providers to the use of third-party payment systems, it added.

Apple last week said it will let dating app developers offer alternate payment options in the Netherlands, in compliance with a ruling by the Dutch regulator. The tech giant also decided to appeal against the ruling in a higher court.

Apple has faced anti-trust investigations by the European Union and the US Federal Trade Commission over its app store policies.

In India, the Competition Commission of India has ordered a thorough anti-trust investigation into Apple over its App Store business practises.

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