Friday, October 8, 2021

Dutch Antitrust Watchdog Wants IAP Changes

Juli Clover:

Apple’s in-app purchase requirements are anti-competitive, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has decided, reports Reuters. The ACM has ordered Apple to make changes to the rules that force developers to use in-app payment options.


The ACM told Apple about its decision on in-app purchases last month, and it was the first antitrust regulator to decide that Apple has abused its market power in the App Store. Apple has not been fined, but the ACM wants it to make changes to in-app purchase rules.


14 Comments RSS · Twitter

After South Korea made a similar pronouncement, John Gruber suggested (October 2nd) that the South Korean market regulators were arbitrarily manipulating the laws to play favourites to protect their home team (Samsung).

"Some really odd legal decisions and laws coming out of South Korea lately. I detect a whiff of protectionism. Would they be going after app store payment systems if the dominant one belonged to Samsung? I doubt it."

I wonder who Gruber thinks the Dutch regulators are protecting?

Old Unix Geek

To my eyes, Gruber is a shill. He's tribal. His tribe is good. Other tribes are bad. He's totally shallow, but he believes he's an expert, has design sense. Really he's just a useful tool for Apple. In a sane world, he'd get just as much attention as he deserves. We don't live in a sane world.

Good first step, but focused on symptoms rather than the disease.

The issue is the 30% tax that Apple collects.

Tim said that if they're forced to offer other payment options, they'll have to find another way of collecting the tax.

@someone Aren’t those two separate issues? It’s totally possible that the two countries have different motivations.

@Old Unix Geek And yet his design sense is totally right about Safari 15 where he says Apple is wrong.

Old Unix Geek


He's not wrong on Safari 15, but he's hardly articulating a minority position, is he?

@Michael Tsai

Given South Korea has jailed Samsung family executives for corporate crimes, it really doesn't make sense to then claim their whole legal and political system is being manipulated to favour the business.

To me, it looks more like Gruber projecting his own implicit biases onto Korean government and legal system. Hhe keeps pushing the Covid lab leak theory, and was vocal over the Boeing 737 Max debacle, in suggesting that the problem was pilots in developing countries being sub-standard in abilitiy and / or training, rather than an American company made an unsafe areoplane, and then corruptly sought to hide that fact.

@ OUG: he's often overly defensive on Apple (quite often to the point where I feel he simply doesn't take enough of a look at other platforms), but I'm with Michael — he's been consistently critical of Apple on Safari 15, throughout the betas on his podcast, and following the final release on a feature article.

That's not really something a "shill" would do, is it?

(In fact, I would argue some of his best writing in the early days of DF was when he criticized Avie introducing file name extensions to macOS, or when Brushed Metal increasingly spread across apps. So he has a long history of being discerning of UX, and 1) using Apple's platforms _because_ of that and also 2) criticizing Apple when it misses the mark.)

Old Unix Geek


It's his overall behavior, (to quote you, among other things: his level of defensiveness, his not acknowledging the advances other platforms have made, and many other things), which pushes him into the "shill" category for me: he's someone who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice others. Where you place that line is, I suppose, a matter for argument.

I vaguely recall enjoying DF a long time ago. But not so much anymore. I would appreciate more nuance and less tribalism.

I miss the days when the Apple community was synonymous with original ideas to improve things. Instead I feel like there's this relentless unoriginal coercive PR and production machine aimed at me 24/7. And he's now part of that machine.

It's all caricatural. The world is grey, not black and white. The thing is that I can't imagine he's no longer able to be more nuanced, that senility hit him so early in life. Yet the last decade seems to have made so many people I used to listen to, hold ridiculously binary opinions. It's utterly bizarre. Is this CO2 affecting people's judgement or something?

Anyway, if you're listening, John, please lose the strong opinions, and instead provide stronger arguments... That would be appreciated by one of the people who's losing interest in your site.

@Old Unix Geek

Apple fundamentally poisoned the well of Apple commentary when they started making their executives available to bloggers & podcasters for long (audience and sponsor attracting) chats - now these anointed few are effectively financially intertwined with Apple, and the threat of withdrawing access keeps them in line. Criticism of individual features in products is allowed, even encouraged, because changing a design is a sign they're responsive to the public.

Criticism of the business plan, or the management or labour-relations style, is absolutely off-limits.

@ someone: Upgrade interviews Apple folks and has had segments on e.g. Apple’s China problem.

Yeah, the interviews are mostly softballs, but your implication that Jason Snell is somehow unable to voice criticism of Apple’s business because he’s interviewed Apple execs on a podcast doesn’t seem to hold true.

Let's talk about state protectionism, let's talk about the US tech embargo that nerfed Huawei.

That's what I call meddling.

Old Unix Geek


This is what Lithuania says about Xiaomi. I assume Huawei is already banned.

Flagship phones sold in Europe by China's smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as "Free Tibet", "Long live Taiwan independence" or "democracy movement", Lithuania's state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday

Given the Vault 7 revelation, it seems you don't have much choice as to who is surveilling you anyway, unless you make your own device.

In the past, Gruber has described himself as being partisan, which, on one hand, is admirably self-aware, but on the other hand, is also really odd. Apple is a corporation. They take your money and give you a product in return. That's it. They're not a political party, nor a religion. They're not a person you can be friends with. They couldn't possibly car any less about you, because "caring about people" is just not something corporations are physically capable of.

It seems to me that a lot of Apple's users identify with Apple, and sadly, this extends to the people in media covering Apple (I guess Apple's users naturally consume media which agrees with them, which promotes media with the same unhealthy identification with Apple). You end up with media outlets whose primary job is to make their readers feel good about their choices, which means providing explanations for why Apple's anti-consumer behavior is actually great, and for why anyone trying to limit Apple is biased and bad.

That's how positive legal changes that benefit Apple's own customers turn into bad Samsung protectionism.


"That's not really something a "shill" would do, is it?"

Gruber's not stupid. To project an image of objectivity, he carefully cultivates a balance of Apple jock-sniffing and hard-hitting commentary on a few obvious issues.

And when I say balance, I don't mean anything close to 50-50.

He's a shill and he's a damn good one.

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