The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in Britain has announced that it is launching an investigation into Apple’s App Store policies. The competition authority is questioning Apple’s requirements for app payments.
In a message on the British government’s website, the CMA says developers are complaining that it is only possible to offer apps for iPhones and iPads in the App Store. The developers must comply with strict requirements, such as that any payments within the app must go through Apple’s payment system. Also, developers must hand over up to 30 per cent of the revenue to Apple.
The CMA says that it will investigate whether Apple has a dominant position with their apps on Apple devices in the UK. If that is the case, the authority will look at whether Apple is applying unfair rules in the App Store, resulting in less choice and higher prices for consumers.
‘Complaints warrant careful scrutiny’
“Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway. So, complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps – warrant careful scrutiny”, said Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA.
“Our ongoing examination into digital markets has already uncovered some worrying trends. We know that businesses, as well as consumers, may suffer real harm if anti-competitive practices by big tech go unchecked. That’s why we’re pressing on with setting up the new Digital Markets Unit and launching new investigations wherever we have grounds to do so.”
Multiple investigations into the App Store
The UK competition authorities are not the only ones investigating the legality of Apple’s App Store rules. The practice gained widespread coverage last summer when games publisher Epic Games filed a lawsuit in the US against Apple over these practices. Epic was soon joined by various other companies such as Spotify. The latter company sued Apple in the EU this week.
Recently, Facebook was said to be preparing a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that Apple does not have to comply with the same rules in the App Store as competing parties. The Dutch Consumer and Market Authority (ACM) has been investigating these issues since 2019. This body seems close to reaching a verdict.