Why it matters: Since last year, regulators in different countries have tried to stop Apple from forcing all app payments through the App Store. Over the past month, the Netherlands has taken perhaps the furthest steps in reigning in the tech titan through weekly fines. It remains to be seen if the financial hits even register for Apple.
This week the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) fined Apple 5 million euros (almost $5.7 million) for continuing to effectively block apps from using third-party payment methods. It is the fifth €5 million fine in as many weeks, bringing the total so far to 25 million (around $28 million).
Last year, the Dutch antitrust regulator ordered Apple to let the country’s dating apps use alternate payment methods, ultimately setting the deadline for the middle of last month. Apple technically complied but required app operators to release entirely new apps to use new payment methods. Apple would also still take a 27 percent cut from payments through non-Apple systems on the apps instead of the usual 30.
The ACM determined this put an unreasonable burden on developers. In response, the ACM has fined Apple 5 million euros a week every week since mid-January. The maximum fine it can levy is €50 million.
Last August, South Korea became the first country to pass a law forcing Apple (and Google) to allow third-party app payments. After a September ruling on Epic’s case against Apple in the US, the Cupertino giant can no longer stop developers from linking to external payment methods.
The US District Court said Apple’s control of its App Store doesn’t represent a monopoly—yet. The Netherlands agreed in that respect but did charge Apple with abusing a dominant market position.