Apple Grudgingly Complies With Dutch Regulators Over Dating Apps

Apple announced “Further updates on StoreKit External Entitlement for dating apps in the Netherlands storefront”. This comes after pushback by Dutch regulators.

From Apple’s News and Updates site:

Following productive conversations with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), today we’re introducing additional adjustments to Apple’s plan to comply with the regulator’s order pertaining to dating apps on the App Store in the Netherlands:

Developers of dating apps in the Netherlands can use the StoreKit External Purchase Entitlement, the StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement, or both entitlements.

In accordance with the ACM’s wishes, we’ve made adjustments to the user interface requirements announced this past March for developers who choose to use either or both of the entitlements.

We’ve adjusted the payment processing criteria for developers who wish to use either of the entitlements.

The 3 percent commission discount also applies to in-app purchases the qualify for a lower commission rate (for example, App Store Small Business Program enrollees or subscription services after one year of paid services – both of which already qualify for a 15% commission).

It should be noted that in February of 2022, Apple stated it would charge app developers in the Netherlands, who are using an alternative payment system, a “reduced” commission that is set at 27% net of tax. Apple typically charges 30% commission on purchases made using its In-App Purchase system.

The Verge reported that these rules are not wide-reaching (they only apply to Dutch dating apps) they do show what Apple is willing to do to comply with government regulation – which it could be facing a lot more of as the EU and US gear up to fight tech monopolies, and potentially even force the company to ditch the iPhone’s Lightning port.

The Verge also pointed out part of Apple’s news post that says: “As a reminder, developers of dating apps who want to continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system – which we believe is the safest and most secure way for users to purchase digital goods and services – may do so and no further action is needed.”

Apple continued, “We don’t believe some of these changes are in the best interest of our users’ privacy or data security. Because Apple is committed to constructive engagement with regulators, we’re making the additional changes at the ACM’s request. As we’ve previously said, we disagree with the ACM’s original order and are appealing it.”

Overall, the message Apple appears to be sending is that they are complying with what Dutch regulators want. In the same post, Apple makes it clear it doesn’t really want to make these changes, and will attempt to appeal it.