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Apple's app store to allow more payment options for Dutch dating app developers

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FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York
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By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) -Apple Inc on Friday laid out how developers of dating apps offered in the Netherlands can skip Apple's in-app payment systems, a closely watched step by the iPhone maker in the face of global antitrust concerns about its control over the mobile app industry.

Apple has long mandated use of its in-app payment system, which charges commissions of up 30% that some developers like Tinder owner Match Group Inc have argued are too high. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) last year ruled that Apple's rules violated Dutch competition laws in the dating app market and required Apple to allow those developers to use third-party payment processors.

Investors are watching the developments in the Dutch antitrust case for the impact they could have on Apple's App Store revenues, the biggest component of its $68.4 billion services business.

Under the rules, Apple said dating app developers will still have to pay it commissions for sales made outside of its in-app payment system, though it will give them a slight discount. Apple had previously said developers who were paying its 30% commission rate would owe it a 27% commission.

But some developers already pay Apple a lower 15% commission rate when they meet certain criteria such as retaining subscription customers for more than a year.

Apple's previous rules did not make clear whether those developers would also get a discount when using third-party payment services. Apple on Friday said those developers will pay a 12% commission when using outside payment systems.

Apple on Friday also said that Dutch authorities mandated changes to how apps look when using third-party payments.

Apple's system will show users a warning that says the user will have to contact the developer over payment problems such as asking for a refund. Apple had originally included a button that would allow users to back out of using the third-party payment option after being shown the warning, but the iPhone maker said Friday that Dutch authorities had rejected that button.

"We don’t believe some of these changes are in the best interests of our users’ privacy or data security," Apple said in a news post. "As we’ve previously said, we disagree with the ACM’s original order and are appealing it."

(Reporting by Stephen NellisEditing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

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