If Apple and Google thought they would have a drama-free end of the year, the Netherlands and Russia respectively have given the two American companies reasons to have a fouled holiday.
The Cupertino giant has been ordered to allow dating apps in the Netherlands to include a non-Apple payment method in their apps. This ruling came from the country’s Authority for Consumers and Markets, ACM.
According to Reuters, ACM opened an investigation into Apple’s in-app purchase practices, which many developers are afraid to complain about openly for fear of retaliation. The company demands a 30 percent cut of all payments passing through its App Store, except for a special category of apps.
If it seems odd that the Dutch regulatory body was specific in its application, it is because it decided to focus on dating apps after Match Group, owners of Tinder, Match.com, and OkCupid, filed a complaint. As it stands, the ruling does not cover other categories of apps in the country.
ACM also asks Apple to allow developers to point to external payment options within the app. Failure to do this by January 15th will attract a 5 million Euros fine per week for up to 50 million Euros.
According to Martijn Snoep, chairman of the board of ACM, “Some app providers are dependent on Apple’s App Store, and Apple takes advantage of that dependency. Apple has special responsibilities because of its dominant position. That is why Apple needs to take seriously the interests of app providers too and set reasonable conditions.”
Apple, however, disagrees with the ruling. The company spokesperson, Marni Goldberg, revealed Apple had filed an appeal. She stated 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, and has the right under EU and Dutch law to charge developers of these apps a fee for all the services and technologies Apple provides them.”
This ruling echoes a court decision in the US that mandates Apple to allow third-party payments. However, the ruling, coming from the Epic Games lawsuit, has been stayed pending the outcome of Apple’s appeal.
Over in Russia, Google is also facing a hefty fine brought against it by a court. It was as a refusal of the internet search giant to delete content that the government classified as illegal. The fine amounts to $98 million or eight percent of Google’s total revenue in the country.
According to a government official, the offending content includes drugs promotion and posts from organizations that are legally classified as terrorists and extremists. The content also includes posts from or about a prominent opposition leader.
If Google fails to comply, the Russian official promises severe measures. However, the company says it is studying the court ruling to determine its next steps.
While Russia is trying to make Google ban some content, it is also trying to make Google unban a conservative local news channel. However, Google claims the ban came as a result of sanctions against the channel’s owner by the US and UK governments.
Other social media companies also face pressure from Russia, which wants them to moderate content posted on their platform to suit its interests. Russia also wants companies with more than 500,000 daily Russian visitors to their websites to open offices in the country.
In other demands, Russia wants both Google and Apple to remove voting apps from opposing politicians from their respective app stores. Failure to do so could lead to the prosecution of the two companies’ employees based in the country.