May 26, 2022

Apple has removed a separate binary requirement that targeted Dutch dating apps seeking the legal right to use non-Apple payment technology to process their in-app purchases.

The company has previously argued that the standalone binary was a “mere condition” that does not prevent ACM’s alleged compliance with the antitrust order. (However, the Dutch regulator disagreed.)

In a “StoreKit External Rights for Dating Apps” update posted yesterday on Apple’s developer site, the company made the announcement. The requirement is that developers of dating apps in the Netherlands who decide to exercise the rights must create and use a separate binary.

“This change means developers can include both rights in their existing dating apps, but must restrict their use to apps in the UK store and devices running iOS or iPadOS,” Apple said.

The additional tweaks Apple made yesterday also include criteria for payment service providers – the tech giant said it will provide “updated and more specific criteria for evaluating non-Apple payment service providers that can use dating app developers in the Netherlands.” as changes in consumer information.

To the latter, Apple added a requirement that Dutch dating app developers who exercise the rights must show users an in-app notification that they are about to make a purchase through an external payment system – “and that the potential impact of this option on the user”, as putting it mildly in Apple’s update.

The company writes that it is “adjusting the language on the modal sheet and reducing the number of sheet impressions,” so it seems relatively safe to assume that the original notification was written the way it reads. This is considered a disaster / inconvenient for users, making it less likely that they will make payments “off the platform”.

(Apple has been criticized for embedding other types of information into iOS, such as when users want to give full permissions for third-party keyboards to work on the platform.)

Throughout this saga, ACM has been suing Apple for causing excessive friction to the developers in question, resulting in a series of non-compliance fines since January: ten fines totaling €5 million, totaling €50 million.

Apple and ACM have been in touch with development questions.

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