Apple is giving way in its app store battle with Dutch regulators and Tinder

Apple announced on Friday that it has again updated its rules on how Dutch dating apps can use third-party payment systems after the company had “productive discussions with the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)”. The updated rules give developers more flexibility over the payment systems they use, change the language users see when checking out, and remove other restrictions that the previous rules introduced.

While the rules aren’t far-reaching (again, they only apply to Dutch dating apps), they do show what Apple is willing to do to comply with government regulations – to which it could be much more exposed than the EU and US gear Fighting tech monopolies and possibly even forcing the company to abandon the iPhone’s Lightning port.

In December, the ACM announced a decision that Apple had to allow dating apps to use payment services alongside the one built into iOS after the regulator received a complaint from Match Group, the company behind dating services like Tinder,, and Ok Cupid. Since then, Apple has proposed a variety of solutions to comply with the order, which the regulator says aren’t good enough. In May, the ACM said that Apple’s latest rules, which predate Friday’s update, are improvements over previous ideas, but that they still fall short of Dutch and European laws.

The pressure on Apple to comply is growing: while the company works on changes, it collects fines in the tens of millions.

The changes Apple announced on Friday are a significant update to its previous proposal, which it published in March. The rules still ensure developers show users a message before showing them the third-party payment screen, which can be either in-app or on an external website, but Apple’s new proposed language will attract potential customers to my less likely to put off opinion.

Originally the suggested language was:

This app does not support the App Store payment system.

All purchases in this app are made by the developer ““ managed. You will no longer transact with Apple. Your saved App Store payment method and associated features such as subscription management and refund requests will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of any transactions made with this developer.

Now it says:

Your payment is managed by the developer. You will no longer transact with Apple.

All purchases in this app are handled by a service provider selected by the developer “developerName”. The developer is responsible for the payment methods and related features like subscriptions and refunds. App Store features such as your saved App Store payment method, subscription management, and refund requests are not available.

The options that users see at the prompt are also different. Previously, they saw “Continue” or “Cancel” buttons. These have been replaced with a button that says “I understand”. The messages users see when the developer links them from within the app (to a third-party payment site) have also been rewritten in the same way.

Also, under Apple’s new rules, developers don’t have to choose between a third-party in-app payment or an external payment link; they can use both if they want, which wasn’t the case before. They can also show how much something will cost — Apple removed a rule that said a link to an external payment “must not include the price of items available on the site you own or for which you are.” are responsible”.

The old rules, which you can read here in this web archive, had specific requirements for third-party payment processors if a developer wanted to use their services in their app. Before Friday’s changes, developers would need to find a processor that supports things like:

  • “Payment method offering and variety (credit card, debit card, etc. support)”
  • Value-added services such as transaction tax administration and processing
  • Payment Security and Privacy Policies that “Exceed Level 1 Payment Card Industry Compliance”

The rules also dictated how reliable the payment processor had to be, stating that it had to have 99.9 percent uptime and respond to requests within 300 milliseconds. Apple still has some requirements for third-party payment processors, but they appear to be significantly broader — now it’s things like “meets PCI (Level 1 Payment Card Industry) compliance for handling credit and debit card data” and “means all Prices for the sale of digital goods and services to users in the Netherlands in euro currency.”

Apple also says it’s updated the commission structure for third-party payments. The previous rules made it seem like Dutch dating app developers would have to pay a 27 percent commission on third-party transactions no matter what. While that’s a 3 percent discount from Apple’s standard 30 percent cut on in-app purchases, paying 27 percent would be a significant increase over the 15 percent developers are paying in the App Store Small Business Program, or the 15 Percent that developers pay out of their recurring subscription revenue after users have kept their subscription for a year.

Now Apple says it’s offering a three percent discount if you go through a third-party payment processor, period — if you’d paid Apple 30 percent, you’re now paying 27, and if you’d paid 15 percent, you’re paying 12. While such a small discount is still a clear message from Apple that developers simply shouldn’t bother looking elsewhere (especially given the extra work involved and the fact that third-party payment systems will have their own fees), At the very least, the change means that smaller developers won’t pay the iPhone maker a higher percentage if they choose a third-party provider.

The ACM does not appear to have questioned Apple’s commission structure in its previous rebuttals to the company’s proposals.

In its Friday news post, Apple makes it clear that it’s not particularly happy with the situation it’s in. “Because Apple is committed to working constructively with regulators, we are making the additional changes at the request of ACM,” the company says, but also says it doesn’t believe some of the changes are “in the best interest of privacy or data security of our customers.” users are”. The company also reiterates that it disagrees with the original order and is appealing it.

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