Apple refuses to open its payment system, and receives a heavy penalty

The Apple remains inflexible in the face of requests to open its App Store. Even if it means paying the high price.

The sanction hung on the branches of Apple for a few days already, it is now official. This week, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets imposed a heavy fine on the American giant for refusing to open its App Store to third-party payment systems. A decision which follows the complaint filed in 2019 by Match Group, in particular owner of Meetic, Tinder, and OKCupid. On December 24, the Dutch regulator ordered Tim Cook’s company to make its App Store more flexible, initially only for dating apps.

A heavy fine, but not really a deterrent

Apple had until January 15 to comply with the restraining order imposed by the Netherlands, or face penalties. The company – which had already announced its decision to appeal – nevertheless chose to turn a deaf ear. It will therefore have to pay a penalty payment of 5 million euros per week of delay, for a maximum fine of 50 million euros. If the sum seems important (it is), it does not however represent not much on the scale of a web giant like Apple, which generates $365.8 billion in revenue annually.

On its official website, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets explains that “Apple has raised several hurdles for dating app providers to use third-party payment systems”. This finding, however, contradicts the conclusions of the European regulator.

However, the decision of the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets is a sign of a encouraging underlying trend among European and American regulators : the power and hegemony of the GAFAM worries, and more and more authorities are now rising up against their privileges. It would still be necessary for the companies concerned to be sanctioned to the extent of their means. Remember that according to the latest financial statements provided by Apple, it will take just over an hour and a half for the company to generate the 50 million euros requested by the Netherlands. Not enough to shake the GAFAM therefore.

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