Dutch Consumer Watchdog Gives Apple Fifth $5.7 Million Fine in App Store Dispute

February 22, 2022Updated: February 22, 2022

AMSTERDAM—The Dutch antitrust watchdog fined Apple 5 million euros ($5.7 million) on Monday, the fifth such penalty in successive weeks in a row over access to non-Apple payment methods for subscriptions to dating apps.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) says the iPhone maker is abusing a dominant market position by failing to allow software application makers in the Netherlands to use other payment methods for dating apps accessible via its App Store.

The ACM has been levying weekly fines of 5 million euros since Apple missed a Jan. 15 deadline to make changes that the watchdog had mandated.

It said the U.S. company had not made any new proposal to comply with its ruling in the past week.

“We have clearly explained to Apple how they can comply…,” the watchdog said in a statement. “So far, however, they have refused to put forward any serious proposals.” Apple declined comment on Monday.

Apple’s App Store requirement that app developers exclusively use its payment system with commissions of 30 percent has come under scrutiny in several countries, most recently the United States.

In blog posts, Apple indicated it complied with the Dutch ruling by allowing dating app makers there to submit a new app with alternative payment methods enabled.

Apple said it still intends to charge a 27 percent commission on any in-app payments it does not process, only slightly below the 30 percent it charges on those it does process.

The ACM has rejected Apple’s moves as putting an unreasonable burden on software developers and not amounting to compliance.

Neither Apple nor the ACM have commented on whether any of the weekly fines have been paid, but it is understood that all are still outstanding.