Russia: Apple abuses market position for mobile apps

According to the Russian FAS, Apple controls the market for iOS apps through the obligation to use the App Store. The complainant in Russia is the security provider Kaspersky Lab. Apple announces legal action against the cartel decision.

The Russian antitrust authority FAS regards it as proven that Apple abused its dominant position in the market for mobile apps with the App Store for iOS. By decree, she wants to force the iPhone manufacturer to stop violating Russian competition laws, as reported by the Reuters agency.

Flag of Russia (Image: Shutterstock)The Russian authorities’ investigation was triggered by a complaint from Kaspersky Lab. Apple had previously not approved a new version of the Safe Kids security application for the App Store and thus banned it from iOS devices. Kaspersky criticized the fact that Apple had released version 12 of its Screen Time app at the same time, which offers functions similar to those of the Kaspersky family filter app. Apple, in turn, justified the deletion of these apps with risks to the security and privacy of users.

The FAS justified its decision against Apple with the fact that Apple forced users to obtain all apps for iOS via the Apple App Store. Apple also reserves the right to block any third-party apps from a marketplace, which is also said to violate Russian competition laws.

According to the Russian news agency Interfax, the next step is for the FAS to determine the requirements that Apple must meet in Russia in the future. Meanwhile, Apple said it would take action against the antitrust authority’s decision.

The EU is currently investigating Apple for possible violations of European competition laws. In Europe, however, the issue is that Apple prescribes its in-house IAP system for in-app purchases and thus requires a commission of 30 percent on all subscription fees from app developers. In addition, according to the EU Commission, Apple prevents app developers from informing users about purchase options outside of the iOS app that may be cheaper.

The Swedish streaming service Spotify had sued. After a preliminary investigation, the commission joined the concerns that Apple’s restrictions could distort competition between music streaming services on Apple devices. Apple’s competitors in the area either stopped selling subscriptions through their iOS apps, or increased prices in order to be able to pay Apple’s commission. A similar complaint has also been made with regard to e-books and audio books.

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