Apple Would Rather Pay €50 Million Than Comply with ACM’s Guidelines: EU Digital Policy Head

Apple Would Rather Pay €50 Million Than Comply with ACM’s Guidelines: EU Digital Policy Head

iPhone App Store

Apple has been hit with several fines for non-compliance with the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands. Still, it refuses to alter the App Store policies in favor of dating app developers in the country. The European Union’s head of digital policy Margrethe Vestager opines that Apple would rather part with €50 million in fines instead of addressing the ACM’s concerns.

In a speech about privacy and the digital economy, Vestager said that the iPhone maker prefers paying “periodic fines” instead of complying with the ACM ruling that directs the company to allow dating apps in the Netherlands to offer third-party payment systems. She said that “Apple’s conduct in the Netherlands these days” could be cited as an example of “gatekeepers… tempted to play for time or try to circumvent the rules.”

“As we understand it, Apple essentially prefers paying periodic fines rather than comply with a decision of the Dutch Competition Authority on the terms and conditions for third parties to access its App Store. And that will also be one of the obligations included in the DMA.”

Vestager appears to be counting on the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a ruling that would ensure fair and transparent dealings in the digital space in the EU. As of February 23, the ACM has fined Apple €25 million — €5 million for every week that the company has delayed its compliance with the ruling. Vestager refers to the fact that the ACM cannot levy a fine higher than €50 million in total, and Apple would rather pay it than comply.

In January this year, Apple announced plans to let dating apps in the Netherlands use third-party payment services alongside the App Store’s default system. It stated that developers would need to maintain separate app binaries for the Dutch users, and Apple would charge a 27 percent commission on the earnings through third-party systems. This arrangement doesn’t offer developers benefits proportional to the effort required to adapt to Apple’s requirements.

The ACM announced it would investigate Apple’s proposed changes to the App Store guidelines in the country. It ultimately found Apple’s measures insufficient to address the concerns the ruling set out to solve. The ACM opines that Apple has not put forth “serious proposals” and that the company’s behavior is “regrettable.” Apple’s most recent €5 million fine was levied earlier this week.

Do you think Apple will part with €50 million in fines or its 30 percent commission in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments section. We would love to hear your thoughts!

[Via European Commission]
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