Apple’s monopoly in the market for iOS apps has begun to be attacked from several quarters, not least authorities in different countries. Last out is the Dutch competition authority ACM as on Christmas Eve published an order that forces Apple to change certain rules for a certain app category: dating apps.
ACM has stuck to just dating apps for this investigation, and in the decision, the authority writes that Apple has a dominant position because developers of dating apps must be on both iOS and Android to have a chance. Just being on Android is not an option and therefore they have to submit to whatever rules Apple has.
Now Apple has to change the rules for dating apps so that developers can use alternative payment systems and can tell users that there are different options. The company has two months to implement the changes – after that it will be fined five million euros each week, up to 50 million euros in total.
The decision had additional demands on Apple, but these have been stopped for the time being by the district court in Amsterdam, and ACM has been banned from publishing these parts. The court’s decision contains some interesting positions. Among other things, we can read that Apple’s lawyers have argued that alternative payment systems will damage the company’s reputation and make users less secure, which the court does not agree with.
The court also rejects Apple’s argument that the changes required to allow alternative payment systems in apps are large and time consuming. The developers themselves will do that work and all Apple needs to do is approve the update. The court also points out that many apps already use other payment systems, including Amazon, without posing a greater risk to users.