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Dutch Regulators to Meet With Dating App Providers to Assess Apple’s Plan for Alternate In-App Payment Options

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The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands plans to assess Apple’s announced plans for allowing dating apps on the App Store in the country to use third-party payment methods, ensuring those plans “meet the requirements” of a previous ruling.

Over the weekend, Apple announced that it would exclusively allow dating apps on the ‌App Store‌ in the Netherlands to use third-party payment methods for in-app purchases. The rule change is the first of its kind for Apple, which previously required all developers worldwide to use its own system for all in-app purchases.

Apple’s concessions came following a December ruling from the ACM that, by restricting dating apps from using third-party payment methods, Apple is engaging in an “abuse of market power.” The ACM threatened to fine Apple up to a maximum of 50 million euros per week if it did not change its policies.

Now that Apple has announced changes, the ACM wants to assess whether those changes meet the requirements of its previous ruling, according to a press release. As part of its probe into the changes, the ACM will meet with dating app providers, such as The Match Group, which owns Tinder, to ensure Apple’s changes sufficiently address concerns.

While Apple will allow dating apps in the Netherlands to use third-party payment methods, there are some caveats to the concessions. Importantly, Apple will continue to receive a commission even for purchases made outside the ‌App Store‌ in-app purchasing system, although Apple has yet to reveal what that commission rate will be.

Developers will also be required to maintain separate app binaries for distribution in the Netherlands if they choose to offer alternate in-app purchasing options.

From a user experience perspective, Apple is warning that by using third-party payment methods, the experience of requesting a refund, managing subscriptions, viewing purchase history, and more will be made significantly more complicated.

Because Apple will not be directly aware of purchases made using alternative methods, Apple will not be able to assist users with refunds, purchase history, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services through these alternative purchasing methods. You will be responsible for addressing such issues with customers.

Apple said it plans to appeal the ACM’s ruling and has expressed concern that the order “could compromise the user experience, and create new threats to user privacy and data security.”

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