Published in Mobiles

Dutch fine Apple again

by on01 March 2022

Apparently “saying you have complied” with an anti-trust order is not enough

Fruity Cargo Cult Apple has been fined by the Dutch for failing to meet a demand to allow local dating apps to have the option to use third party payment tech to sell digital content to their app users.

A few days ago Apple said it had complied with the order and dating app developers wishing to take up the entitlement need only make “a minor technical change.”

However, in a statement today, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Market (ACM) said it has levied a sixth fine (of €5M) against the tech giant for non-compliance with an order first issued last year.

The iPhone maker is now facing a €30 million penalty over the issue, as the penalty has increased again by another €5M since last Monday — with the prospect of further €5M increases in the coming weeks if it continues to stonewall the regulator (up to a €50M potential maximum).

The Dutch do not appear to be taking Apple’s word for it and the regulator said:

“We did not receive any new proposals from Apple last week that would make them comply with the requirements of ACM. Therefore, Apple must also pay the sixth penalty,” said an ACM spokesperson.
“In the week of February 14, we once again explained to Apple which requirements we have and why the current proposals are insufficient. It seems that Apple is not going to make any changes to their original proposal to meet the requirements.”

Apple’s chief compliance officer, Kyle Andeer, insists that “Apple believes its solution is fully compliant with Dutch law.” We are not sure if the convicted person is allowed to decide that. Apple had similar problems when the EU insisted that all its shiny toys must have a warranty of two years.

The Dutch regulator has previously said Apple is imposing “unreasonable” and “disadvantageous” conditions on developers wanting to use alternatives to its in-app payment API.

The ACM has previously suggested it’s unhappy at Apple seeking to limit developers to an either/or choice on payment tech — either use Apple’s in-app API or third party tech — rather than enabling them to make use of all options in the same app.

Meanwhile, EU’s head of digital strategy, EVP Margrethe Vestager, called out its behaviour last week, accusing the company of a deliberate tactic of choosing to pay fines rather than comply with competition orders.

Apple continues to insist that it does not support the order, on the grounds that it risks degrading the user experience — while maintaining the claim that it is nonetheless complying by providing two entitlements to developers.


Last modified on 01 March 2022
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