Apple offers 27% commission in Dutch App Store dispute

Apple plans to charge dating app developers a 27% commission on all in-app purchases made through alternative payment systems in the Netherlands, the company said. The change comes in response to an order from the Dutch competition regulator, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), which demanded that Apple allow dating app developers — and only dating app developers dating — to use alternatives to Apple’s built-in payment system in the country. Twenty-seven percent represents a reduction of just 3 percentage points from the 30 percent commission Apple typically charges developers using its own payment system.

The announcement follows Google’s proposal to cut its commission by 4 percentage points for developers using alternative payment systems in South Korea, Reuters reports. The proposal came in response to a law passed in the country last year. South Korea’s new rules are expected to be fully fleshed out by March 15, when it will be known exactly what holders of platforms like Apple and Google will need to do to comply with the law.

According to Apple’s documentation, dating app developers in the Netherlands can now request to use the alternative payment systems. They can choose between offering a third-party payment system in the app interface or connecting to an external website to make a purchase. Apple said it would also require dating app developers to submit a separate app binary in the Netherlands to enable alternative payments.

Last week, the Dutch regulator fined Apple 5 million euros (about $5.7 million) for failing to fulfill its order – a fine that would repeat itself every week until Apple conforms to it. The regulator gave two reasons for fining Apple: first, that it had not yet implemented the alternative payment systems, and second, that Apple had put in place “barriers” to deter developers to move away from its proprietary payment system, such as forcing them to choose between using another payment system outside of the app or another payment system within the app.

Apple’s 27% commission announcement was met with fury by a prominent iOS developer, Steve Troughton-Smithwho called the commission rate “absolutely despicable” and said “every member of their management team should be ashamed of themselves.”

Apple’s proposed solution – like requiring separate binaries, developers having to report external sales to Apple, and those meager 3% savings – might be too much effort for too little benefit for developers to care to use. something other than Apple’s own payment system.

Yesterday, Reuters reported that a South Korean official expressed concern about barriers that holders of platforms like Apple and Google might use to deter developers from using alternative payment systems. “As a result of any policy, if app developers find it really difficult to use an alternative payment system and resort to the App Store’s dominant operator’s payment system, that would not match not to the purpose of the law,” the official said.

A spokesperson for the ACM did not immediately respond to The edgeApple’s request for comment on whether Apple’s actions today bring it into compliance with the order.

Apple maintains that it opposes offering alternative payments, which it says will “compromise user experience and create new threats to user privacy and data security.” He says he is appealing the ACM’s decision, although he intends to comply with the order in the meantime.

South Korea and the Netherlands are just two proxy battles in a wider wave of antitrust scrutiny of Apple and Google’s app store policies. Last year in the United States, a judge ordered Apple to allow developers to connect to external payment processors in response to a legal challenge from Epic Games, although that order was later suspended pending the call.

Aurora J. William