Apple’s App Store broke competition laws, Dutch watchdog claims

The Netherlands’ top competition regulator on Friday claimed Apple broke the country’s competition laws and ordered changes to the company’s App Store payment policies.

Apple's App Store on iPhone
Apple’s App Store on iPhone


An investigation by the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) on whether Apple’s practices amounted to an abuse of a dominant market position was launched in 2019. But it was later reduced in scope to focus primarily on dating market apps, including Tinder owner Match Group Inc.

“We disagree with the order issued by the ACM and have filed an appeal,” Apple said in a statement. It added that “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.”

The regulator’s decision said Apple violated competition laws. It has ordered Apple to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its App Store that apply to dating-app providers.

The decision orders Apple to allow dating-apps providers to use alternative payment systems. The company faces a fine of up to 50 million euros ($56.6 million) if it fails to comply. Apple was given until Jan. 15 to implement changes, a statement said.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple does not have a smartphone hardware or mobile operating system monopoly in The Netherlands (or anywhere else), so the company cannot be abusing a monopoly. Apple does not have a dominant market position in The Netherlands. And, so, the ACM’s action is lacks foundation.

Mobile Operating System Market Share in The Netherlands (November 1, 2021, Statcounter):

• Android: 55.68%
• iOS: 43.68%

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  1. Do these governments now try and make laws and regulations that are so loosely defined that almost anything breaks it, and then go out and find victims to charge them with breaking it that have deep pockets..

  2. I always thought the Dutch was reasonable and applied laws fairly. Turns out they are no different than the other non competitive in tech, tax successful US company, money grubbing EU countries.

  3. I’m a Dutch citizen and totally disagree with the actions of the ACM. There is no monopoly and shopowners in the Netherlands are allowed to set up their own prices. So this decision leaves me flabbergasted.

        1. Freedom means I get to buy an Apple device and to expect Apple to comply with anti-trust rules, if not democratic principles.

          Unless you own this site, feel free to leave for yourself.

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