The investigation is based on the accusation (which has been there for quite some time now) of how it is an unfair practice of Apple to make its devices and control the App Store with conditions that it is the only way to get any app into the iPhone.
While the claim revolves around how Apple is abusing developers with its power, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has noted that they have only started looking into the matter with the investigation and haven’t come to any conclusion whether Apple is actually breaking the law or not.
The UK is not alone to investigate Apple’s monopoly on the App Store. As prior to them, The European Commission already has four open antitrust probes into the company, and the antitrust regulators in the US have already scrutinized the store.
CMA has launched the investigation as a part of their own work in the digital sector and also to check on the complaints that developers have registered against Apple’s terms and conditions for putting up the apps on the App Store. According to them, the terms are unfair and also break the competition law. Moreover, Apple has also put up the condition to take a certain cut from the sales which are made within the app and the users are also bound to the company’s own payment system to purchase anything.
Although CMA didn’t name the developers who filed the complaint but we know how Fortnite developer Epic has also been very public about the similar stance in recent times.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, has also stated that as millions of us rely on apps every single day whether to check the weather, play games, or order food online, the complaint completely makes sense as customers will continue to lose out when buying under the current terms and therefore scrutiny is required.
CMA has already got to know about some worrying trends in the recent past during their ongoing examination into digital markets and hence, the regulatory authority truly understands how businesses and consumers suffer real harm if anti-competitive practices are ignored.
Apple charges a 30 percent fee upon every app transaction. While it is in line with how things operate in the market since Google too follows the same practice but Android still offers more modes of payment and leaves the choice onto the consumers.
Apple, on the other hand, has stated that they are more than happy to work with CMA’s investigation and for the similar matter, the executives have explained that the current payment system for in-app purchases exists to make the process easier and safer for users. It would be a lot of work and risk for users if they are given the option to register payment information with developers for multiple apps.
Furthermore, the company has stated that since the iOS app economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK, therefore, any developer who has a great idea to solve the issue can reach out to Apple at any given point. But until then, the rigorous standards in place are applicable for all developers while treating all of them fairly and equally. Apple aims to protect customers from malware and also keep their data safe by continuing with this method.