Dutch regulator levies 10th fine on Apple in dating app row, assessing new proposal

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AMSTERDAM, March 28 (Reuters) - The Dutch consumer watchdog on Monday levied a 10th weekly fine against Apple (AAPL.O) for failure to comply with an order to make it possible for dating app providers in the Netherlands to use non-Apple payment methods.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets said its fines against the company in the long-running dispute now total 50 million euros ($55 million), the maximum possible under its current order.

It said Apple had submitted a new proposal for complying with the order on Sunday - a move the watchdog said it welcomed but that came too late to avoid the fine.

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Apple's practice of requiring developers to use its system and pay commissions of 15-30% on digital goods purchases has come under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world.

Although the Dutch case is limited to dating apps in the Netherlands, it could set a precedent for the U.S. company, which has denied wrongdoing. The ACM has been levying weekly fines against the company in the dispute since January. read more

The ACM said on Monday that Apple's new compliance proposal was concrete enough that it expects be able to make a finding "as soon as possible" as to whether the company has complied with its order. It said it would consider the proposal and consult with dating app makers such as Tinder owner Match Group Inc (MTCH.O). read more

Depending on the outcome, the agency said it might still move to impose further periodic fines "with possibly higher penalties" to encourage the company to comply.

Under new rules agreed last week between the European Commission, EU governments and EU lawmakers, Apple will be required to open up its App Store to alternative payments once the legislation comes into force in October. read more

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Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by John Stonestreet and Marguerita Choy

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