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Dutch foundation seeks consumer damages over Apple, Google app payments -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A reporter is shown how to pay with Apple Pay in a Beijing Apple store, China. February 17, 2016 by an employee. REUTERS/Damir Sgolj/File photo

Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Apple (NASDAQ:) and Google face a potential class action lawsuit in the Netherlands over app store charges, after a foundation headed by Dutch entrepreneur Alexander Klöpping began gathering claimants.

This action still has to clear legal hurdles prior to any court hearing. It reflects increasing criticism about how the companies charge developers for their app store payments. However, the Netherlands is increasingly being used as a place where multinational corporations can be sued.

Klöpping is a co-founder of Blendle, a digital platform that enables users to buy individual news articles, which he sold in 2020. He explained to Reuters that his work at Blendle fueled his desire to become a tech giant.

It’s because everyone is feeling that big tech companies are in power imbalance.

According to him, while app developers complain most about store practices and costs ultimately pass on to the consumers.

Klöpping’s App Store Claims Foundation is being represented by law firm Hausfeld, with funding from Fortress Investment Group.

Apple has not responded to any requests for comment. Alphabet, the parent company of Google (NASDAQ:), did not respond immediately to request for comment. But, they said they had reduced Google Play fees.

The formal notice to Apple and Google has been sent at this point in the Dutch class actions proceedings, which were codified by a 2020 law.

Rob Okhuijsen from Hausfeld said in April that the next stage will be to present evidence at the Amsterdam District Court. The court will then weigh the merits of your complaint if a judge consents.

Bart-Adriaan de Ruijter from CMS, who was not directly involved in this case, but is a specialist in corporate litigation, stated that the Netherlands has become a hotbed for lawsuits against multinationals. The latest examples include the $339 million Airbus action and the ruling that Shell (LON) must reduce its carbon emissions.

Dutch authorities have already taken Apple to task for their app store practices. Apple was ordered by the Authority for Consumers and Markets in December 2015 to provide non-Apple payment options for app developers for their dating applications.

Apple is appealing the $5.7M fine for violating four conditions, including Monday’s.

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