In 2021 the Dutch equivalent of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission became one of the first regulators in the world to require Apple to give people multiple payment options for using dating apps on their smartphones, reported Forbes.
So, what happens now is that Apple has proposed making a standoff between the tech giant and Dutch bureaucrats. Apple has proposed a workaround, but the regulator calls Apple’s attitude “regrettable” and has issued weekly fines of 25 million euros. Apple notes that its clients’ security and convenience would be compromised if it allowed this. The company also adds that they are currently complying with its legal obligations.
Apple’s response is revealing about how tech superpowers react to governments’ efforts to change the role of technologies.
More authorities worldwide want to change the way in which tech companies are working. The tech giants noted that they follow the laws wherever they operate, however, they also push back against governments and deflect or shape laws and regulations.
For instance, Forbes explained in an article that democracy advocates have criticized Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google for not doing more to push back against government efforts to censor political speech in countries like Vietnam, India, and Russia. Hence, the Netherlands became an unlikely high-stakes tech battleground starting in 2019, when the Authority for Consumers and Markets began investigating whether Apple’s app storefront broke the country’s laws against abuses of power.
According to some authorities, the tech giant unfairly uses our devices and digital economy by requiring the mandatory downloading of apps to be done via Apple Store. In that way, the company gets a commission of up to 30% on certain purchases while dictating the content that appears on our phones.
In fact, a lot of developers have claimed that they insist to have more options of what Apple stores can provide. For instance, Match Group, the U.S. company that owns Tinder, Match.com, and other dating services insists to have options that go around Apple’s store to direct people to pay for dating services, reported Forbes.
In response, a month ago Apple proposed a set of conditions that some app developers said was an antagonistic opposition of the Dutch regulator. Further explanation by Apple states that dating apps could use whatever payment system they want, however, the company insists to get a fee of 27 cents on each dollar of purchases that clients make through the app. They also require
Apple further explained that dating apps in the country could use any payment system they wanted, but that Apple deducts a fee of 27 cents on each dollar of purchases that people made in the app, and require the dating companies to hand over information and audit it.