UK Competition Regulator Starts Apple Antitrust Probe

UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), announced Thursday, March 4, 2021, that it has launched an antitrust probe into Apple’s App Store. The investigation being launched against the tech giant comes as there have been complaints about the company’s monopoly.

According to CNBC, software developers have raised concerns about the unfair and anti-competition practices being upheld by the iPhone maker. The company reportedly only limits the reach of these developers by allowing these app makers to release their programs on the iOS smartphone platform.

App makers have also said that the company charges a relatively large commission rate of up to 30% from developers based on the number or value of transactions or when a user buys the said application from the App Store.

Antitrust Probe Into Apple App Store

Despite the competition regulator receiving a number of complaints against the said tech giant, it did not name the developers in question in its formal statement.

Among the companies that have launched formal complaints against the iPhone maker is no other than Epic Games. CNBC states that Epic Games has since filed a complaint with the EU. As a result, Reuters reports that Apple has banned Fortnite from the App Store.

Apart from this, companies such as Match Group and Spotify have also voiced similar complaints about restrictive policies.

In a statement, chief executive at the Competition and Markets Authority Andrea Coscelli said, “Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway… 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.”

Following such allegations, the United Kingdom competition watchdog will into the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for its app developers, as well as the current position of Apple in the country, especially with regard to its apps distribution, reports Reuters.

In response to the antitrust probe launched by the UK regulator, the iPhone maker said that they are looking to cooperate with the regulator for the investigation. They said, “We believe in thriving and competitive markets where any great idea can flourish.”

Apart from this, the company released a statement saying, “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.”