Dutch Regulator Fines Apple $5.7M – Report

The Dutch antitrust regulator has fined iPhone maker Apple, Inc. (AAPL) for a fifth time in successive weeks over access to non-Apple payment methods for dating apps subscriptions, as per Reuters. On Monday, the regulator fined Apple €5 million ($5.7 million).

Shares of the FAANG stock, Apple closed at $167.30 on February 18. AAPL stock has lost 8% year-to-date vis-à-vis gaining almost 18% over the past year.

Apple’s Monopolistic power

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has accused Apple of misusing its monopolistic position to stop software application makers across the Netherlands from using alternative payment methods for subscribing to dating apps on the App Store.

The ACM has asked Apple to make changes to its App Store effective January 15, to allow alternative payment methods at lower commission rates, which the company has failed to comply with. Following this, the Dutch watchdog has been penalizing Apple with fines of up to 5 million euros every week.

Commenting on the same, the ACM said, “We have clearly explained to Apple how they can comply… So far, however, they have refused to put forward any serious proposals.”

Apple charges a 30% commission on in-app payments, which are not processed via the App Store. Following scrutiny from several countries, Apple has stated its intent to charge a 27% commission for such purchases, just a little below its original 30%.

To date, ACM has not approved any of Apple’s moves and is alleging the tech company of unreasonably burdening software developers and not complying with its requirements.

Target Price

The AAPL stock commands a Strong Buy consensus rating based on 24 Buys and 5 Holds. The average Apple price target of $193.32 implies 15.5% upside potential to current levels.  

Stock Analysis

According to TipRanks’ Smart Score, Apple scores a “Perfect 10”, indicating that the stock is very likely to outperform the market. Bloggers and news articles are bullish on the stock, and hedge funds have increased their holdings of AAPL stock by 717.4K shares in the last quarter.

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