Dutch foundation claims €1 billion from Apple, Google for expensive app stores
The Dutch App Stores Claim Foundation launched a case against Apple and Google. According to the foundation, Dutch consumers have paid up to 1 billion euros too much for purchases via their app stores in recent years. The foundation said the American tech companies abused their market power by imposing restrictive conditions. Developers are obliged to offer apps and in-app purchases exclusive through the app stores. In the eyes of the foundation, the tech companies charged an "excessive commission" of up to 30 percent for this.
The foundation, chaired by tech entrepreneur and journalist Alexander Klopping, believes that Apple and Google must refund the excess money. According to the foundation, the tech companies would not be able to impose such high commissions if competing platforms and payment systems were allowed in their app stores. The foundation also wants Google and Apple to adjust their working methods.
The foundation called on Netherlands residents to sign up for the claim. They can do so if they purchased at least one app, service, or subscription in the Google or Apple app store that those companies themselves did not make. It does not matter whether they purchased it commercially or privately. The foundation will first invite Apple and Google for a consultation to find a solution and avoid legal proceedings. But at the same time, a lawsuit is being prepared in case the companies don't give in.
The foundation strives to make participation in the lawsuit free of charge, whereby the costs incurred are charged to Apple and Google. A percentage of the compensation received may go to the foundation. This is only the case if the fees of the collective action cannot or cannot be fully charged to the tech companies. That is limited to 25 percent. If the case fails, participants won't have to pay anything.
The Netherlands is not the only country with claims against Google and Apple on the table. A similar campaign was launched in the United Kingdom last year.
Reporting by ANP