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UK Competition Regulator Investigating Apple

Tue Mar 09 2021

Industry watchdog to investigate Apple over their App store policies

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (The CMA) have just announced they’ll be investigating Apple over the t&c’s of its App store in relation to the app developers who host third party products there.

The investigation was launched after allegations that the iPhone manufacturers t&c’s were unfair and anticompetitive towards app developers.

The official Apple App store is currently the only way a developer can sell or promote third-party apps for Apple devices, meaning nothing can be released without Apple’s permission.

If a developer wants to release an App to an Apple device, these t&c’s have to be met, such as:

 

  • All in-app features, purchases and add-ons must be bought through Apple’s payment system.
  • All purchases made through Apple’s payment system are subject to 30% commission.

 

According to reports, Apple’s App Store, using those t&c’s, generated over $50bn in revenue in 2019, with Apple commenting to say that:

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In 2019 alone, the App Store ecosystem facilitated $519 billion in commerce worldwide - with over 85 per cent of that total accruing solely to third-party developers and businesses of all sizes

Apple Spokesperson

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The CMA have stated they’ll be investigating whether Apple currently has a ‘dominant position’ through the distribution of apps through it’s App Store in the UK. If it’s found that it has (and we should note that the investigation was only launched last Thursday) then the CMA will make a decision as to whether the App Store’s t&c’s are unfair or ant-competitive and take appropriate steps to remedy the situation as it could be causing end-users to spend more for in-app purchases.

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Apple are looking forward to working with the British regulator to explain how our guidelines for privacy, security and content have made the App Store a trusted marketplace for both consumers and developers.

Apple Spokesperson

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Apple have previously commented to say the t&c’s of the App Store are necessary to protect users from “malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent”.

 

Apple is currently also being investigated by the Dutch competition authority who have commented to say they’re almost ready to make a decision on their findings.

The European Commission also has at least four ongoing antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store and the CMA have stated they’ll be coordinating their investigation with both the European Commission and other antitrust regulators from around the world.

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Tue Mar 09 2021

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