Dutch consumer watchdog to assess Apple app payment plans

Dutch consumer watchdog to assess Apple app payment plans

AMSTERDAM, Jan 17, Reuters - The Dutch consumer watchdog said on Monday it would look at Apple's move to allow developers of dating apps to offer non-Apple payment options in the Netherlands to see if changes are enough to meet competition rules.

Late last month, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets ordered Apple to make changes for apps on the Apple App Store in the Netherlands by Jan. 15 or face fines, after it discovered that the U.S. company had abused its market dominance by requiring Tinder owners, including Match Group Inc, to use Apple's in-app payment system.

ACM said in a statement that Apple had informed it about how the company intends to comply and the watchdog will now assess whether Apple's response is adequate.

ACM will sit down with dating-app providers as part of the assessment, it said.

The Coalition for App Fairness, a group of app developers including Match Group and Epic Games, could not be reached for comment. The December decision of the ACM was applauded by the group.

The practice of Apple requiring developers to pay commissions of 15 - 30% on digital goods purchases has come under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world. The Dutch order and Apple's response cover only the Netherlands and only dating apps.

In a post on its developers' blog, Apple said it would comply by introducing two new options that are only applicable to dating apps on the Netherlands App Store, which provide additional payment processing options for users, while Apple would still require some commission from developers on transactions that make use of the new options.

They could not say how much commissions will be or how Apple will enforce commissions for payments that don't flow through its systems.