Apple has dropped the requirement for a separate binary it had sought to impose on Dutch dating apps seeking the legal right to use non-Apple payment technology to process their in-app purchases.
Previously, the company argued that a separate binary was a “simple prerequisite” that did not preclude its alleged compliance with the ACM antitrust order. (The Dutch regulator continued to disagree, however.)
In “Update on External StoreKit Entitlement for Dating Apps” posted on Apple’s developer site yesterday, the company said it had removed the requirement that developers of dating apps in the Netherlands who choose to use the rights must create and use a separate binary.
“This change means that developers can include either right in their existing dating app, but must still limit its use to the app in the Netherlands storefront and on devices running iOS or iPadOS” , Apple noted.
Additional adjustments Apple also said it made yesterday relate to the criteria for payment service providers – with the tech giant saying it is providing “updated and more specific criteria for evaluating payment service providers not Apple that dating app developers in the Netherlands can use”. — as well as changes in the area of consumer disclosure.
On the latter, Apple had added a requirement that Dutch dating app developers using the rights must display an in-app notification to users explaining that they will be making purchases through an external payment system – “and the potential impact what choice could have over the user,” as Apple’s update simply puts it.
The company writes that it “adjusts the language on the modal sheet and reduces the number of times the sheet should be displayed” – so it seems relatively safe to assume that the original notification was worded in a way that would be considered too creepy /off-putting to users, making them less likely to go through an “off-platform” payment in the first place.
(Apple has been criticized along these lines for other types of notifications it builds into iOS, such as when users want to give third-party keyboards full permission to run on the platform, for example. )
Throughout this saga, the ACM has denounced Apple for creating unreasonable friction for the developers in question, leading to a series of fines for non-compliance since January: ten fines of 5 million euros in total, reaching a (current) total of 50 million.
Apple and the ACM have been contacted with development questions.
Update: An ACM spokesperson said: “We have seen that Apple has adjusted its terms for dating apps in the Netherlands. We have not yet come to a conclusion regarding these adjusted terms. As already reported on Monday , we will first share them with other market participants for consultation. Once we have completed this consultation, it will be clear whether or not Apple is in compliance with the order. We will share our conclusion as soon as it is available .