According to a Dutch regulator, Apple should permit other in-app payment methods for dating apps

According to a thorough judgement announced today by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, Apple must allow dating app developers to use non-Apple payment systems for in-app transactions or risk a hefty punishment (ACM). A complaint by the proprietors of Tinder, Match.com, and OkCupid convinced the regulator to focus on dating apps in its investigation of the company’s App Store operations, according to Reuters.

Other app categories, such as games and productivity apps, are not affected by this decision.

“Some app providers are dependent on Apple’s App Store, and Apple takes advantage of that dependency,” writes Martijn Snoep, chairman of the board of ACM. “Apple has special responsibilities because of its dominant position. That is why Apple needs to take seriously the interests of app providers too and set reasonable conditions.”

According to a Dutch regulator, dating app providers should also be able to direct users to third-party payment methods. After January 15, if the corporation doesn’t meet the deadline, it will be fined 5 million Euros per week, up to a total of 50 million Euros.

The Apple in-app purchase system allows the firm to receive a 15% to 30% cut of any in-app purchases made by users.

Marni Goldberg, an Apple spokesman, told The Verge that the firm had no comment “disagree[s] with the order issued by the ACM and [has] filed an appeal.” She went on to say Apple “does not have a dominant position in the market for software distribution in the Netherlands, has invested tremendous resources helping developers of dating apps reach customers and thrive on the App Store, and has the right under EU and Dutch law to charge developers of these apps a fee for all the services and technologies Apple provides them.”

Apple’s App Store guidelines, though, are still being scrutinized by governments throughout the world. For the first time, Apple has agreed to allow “reader apps,” like Netflix and Kindle, to direct customers to external sign-up pages where they can enter their credit card information, bypassing Apple’s security. South Korea approved a rule in August that allows developers to use payment methods other than those provided by platform owners, and Apple and Google are allegedly evaluating what they must do to comply.

However, a US appeals court halted a judgment that would have forced Apple to accept third-party payment systems as a result of its legal dispute with Epic Games, a process that might last months.

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