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Apple Will Allow Outside Payments in Dutch Dating Apps

·2-min read

(Bloomberg) --

Most Read from Bloomberg

Apple Inc. will comply with a Dutch ruling to allow third-party payment options for dating apps, the first time the company is allowing outside payments within App Store apps.

Apple said late Friday it’s releasing a pair of what it calls entitlements that will allow developers to implement their own third-party payment services to pay for dating apps in the Netherlands. The change will also let developers point users to the web to complete transactions.

However, Apple said it will continue to collect its revenue share, which has been highly scrutinized by governments and developers in multiple countries. Details on how the company will do that -- or what cut it will take -- have not yet been released.

The company said that most developers who sell dating apps are based outside of the Netherlands so any revenue generated from this change wouldn’t benefit the local economy. Apple added that developers who choose to use outside payments would have to submit a separate version of their app specific to The Netherlands.

“Dating app developers using these entitlements will need to submit a separate app binary for iOS or iPadOS that may only be distributed in the Netherlands App Store.”

The iPhone maker also highlighted that dating app developers can continue to use Apple’s system.

“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,” the company said in a message to developers posted on its website.

Appeal

The company also said it disagrees with the decision and is appealing it. “Because we do not believe these orders are in our users’ best interests, we have appealed the ACM’s decision to a higher court,” Apple said. “We’re concerned these changes could compromise the user experience, and create new threats to user privacy and data security.”

Apple previously said it will let developers of so-called Reader apps -- which includes music, eBook and cloud storage apps -- point users to the web to complete transactions this year. That decision came after a settlement with Japan’s Federal Trade Commission.

The company was ordered by the Dutch antitrust authority to allow dating apps to use other payment systems or face a fine of as much as $57 million, with a Jan. 15 deadline to make the change.

Apple imposes “unreasonable conditions” by not allowing a free choice for app payments besides Apple’s in-app purchases, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets said.

(Updates with more information on commissions, developer terms. A previous version was corrected to remove a reference to the move circumventing Apple’s 15% to 30% revenue share)

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