Netherlands orders Apple to offer more payment methods on the App Store

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The Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM) in the Netherlands is urging Apple to lift restrictions on payments from the App Store in the country.

According to a Reuters report, citing anonymous inside sources, the consumer protection organization launched an investigation which concluded that Apple was engaging in anti-competitive practices.

Reports that forced ACM to look into the matter came from disgruntled Dutch app developers as well as giants like Match Group (owner of Tinder) who maintain that they impose a 15% to 30% discount on all in-app purchases. on the iOS platform is unfair.

Additionally, many of these developers complained that Apple did not allow them to independently and directly inform their user base about payments.

The survey was launched in 2019, changed scope along the way to focus primarily on dating apps, and has now reached an informal conclusion.

ACM has yet to publish a relevant report on its portal, but Reuters says the antitrust authority already warned Apple to lift payment restrictions in the app more than a month ago.

No fines have been imposed for finding Apple guilty of violating Dutch competition laws, but as the case is still under judicial review, the company’s response to ACM’s orders will play a role. role in determining the final amount.

The start of a domino effect

This follows South Korea’s recently enacted law that requires Apple and Google to open payments on their app stores to third-party vendors.

While there are several antitrust investigations against Apple around the world, few have been concluded to give us any indication of whether or not the new South Korean law is replicating in other countries.

The reported ACM survey result is a clear sign of the manifestation of a “domino effect” that could force Apple and Google to abandon their absolute dominance when it comes to in-app fees on their mobile platforms.

At the same time, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission has announced that it is launching an investigation into Apple and Google, to determine whether the two entities have abused their market dominance in the country.

Reports that Japan’s FTC has received from various entities describe the unfair promotion of Google’s own apps on Android and the mandatory and exclusive inclusion of Google Search on all devices sold in the country.

The Japanese government enacted a new law on “improving the transparency and fairness of digital platforms” earlier this year, and if the FTC stipulates that the law also applies to markets for mobile operating systems , Google and Apple will also be required to submit regular transaction reports to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.


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