UK Opens Antitrust Investigation Into Apple’s App Store Policies

By McKenzie Carpenter Thursday, March 4, 2021

Apple store.

Millions of people around the world have become attached to their smartphones and the apps that keep them connected, entertained, or informed. Today, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Competition and Markets Authority, or CMA, launched an investigation into Apple and its anti-competitive App Store policies.

Apple App Store Investigation

The UK’s CMA announced Thursday that the organization would be launching an investigation into the tech company, specifically the App Store, to review the possible unfair and illegal terms and conditions. The investigation is prompted due to the fact the tech business has complete control over what apps are and are not available in the App Store, therefore acting as the gatekeeper for what apps are available for Apple devices.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said, “Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway.” He added, “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.”

Apps available in the App Store are all dependent on app developers agreeing to certain terms set by the tech company. One of those terms set by the tech business is that developers can only release apps for Apple devices through the App Store. In addition, the tech company charges up to a 30% commission from developers on the value of the transactions anytime someone buys their app from the App Store.

In response to the investigation, the tech business stated, “The App Store has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place — applied fairly and equally to all developers — to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent.”

Other Tech Business Clampdowns

The news of the CMA investigation into App Store policies made by the tech company comes less than a year after the European Union, or EU, launched its own investigation into the tech business, specifically Apple Pay and the App Store, for similar reasons to the current probe. Furthermore, the EU also announced at the end of last year some new regulations for Big Tech businesses in an attempt to regulate digital markets.

In addition to these investigations, the tech company is also facing another lawsuit in the EU from Fortnite creator Epic Games for antitrust violations. Similar lawsuits have been filed against the tech business by the gaming company in the US, Australia, and UK.

Last month, Startup Savant covered the story when Australia passed a new law pertaining to Google and Facebook, requiring each business to pay for news content to reduce the overall bargaining power of each company.

About the Author

Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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