Apple’s App Store is now also under antitrust scrutiny in the UK – TechCrunch

Apple is facing another antitrust investigation in Europe on how it operates the iOS App Store.

UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Announced today This is an investigation opened after several complaints by developers as a result of unfair terms and their work in the digital arena.

“The CMA investigation will consider whether Apple has a prominent place in the UK regarding the distribution of apps on Apple devices – and if so, whether Apple applies unfair or competitive terms to developers using the App Store Ultimately resulting in users having fewer options or paying higher prices for apps and add-ons, ”it wrote in a press release.

It said that this is only the beginning of the investigation and no decision has yet been taken on whether Apple is breaking the law or not.

CMA Chief Executive Officer Andrea Coscelli also said in a statement: “Millions of us order weather checks, games or takeaways every day. Therefore, complaints that Apple is using its market position to determine conditions that are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers to lose while purchasing and using the app Is – careful investigation.

An Apple spokesperson sent us this statement in response to the CMA action:

We have made the App Store a safe and reliable place for customers to download apps that developers love and a great business opportunity for developers everywhere. In the UK alone, the iOS app economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, and any developer is able to reach Apple customers worldwide with a great idea.

We believe in thriving and competitive markets where any great idea can flourish. The App Store has been an engine of success for app developers, because of the rigorous standards we have – appropriately and equally applicable to all developers – to protect customers from malware and mass data collection without their consent. to stop. We look forward to working with the UK Competition and Market Authority to explain that our guidelines for privacy, security and content have made the App Store a trusted market place for both consumers and developers.

The European Union already has an open antitrust investigation into several elements of Apple’s business – the App Store and the iPhone maker’s payment offering, following the announcement of Apple Pay’s investigation, the last summer.

There are also american lawmakers Questioning apple as part of Major anti-investigation in big technology. And a Bill has just advanced to Arizona The aim is to force both Apple and Google to allow third-party payment options in their smartphone stores.

Meanwhile, the Apple investigation of the EU continues. Video game publisher Epic Games – which is engaged in a terrible public fight with Apple Cupertino’s unfair ‘tax’ on developers – Recently filed a complaint with the European Commission and sought to join the EU case Last month.

Epic had previously filed the same complaint in the UK – so it is one of the unhappy developers citing the CMA.

With Britain now outside the European Union, the CMA is set to play a more prominent role as a regional regulator. Post-Brexit, it is free to examine the same issues as the Commission (while under EU rules national regulators are presumed to avoid attempts to counterfeit).

If it can move faster than the Bloc’s Competition Commission, it could be an opportunity to mold the standards that apply to tech giants. (Although the CMA said today that the Commission has “continued to closely coordinate with the Commission and other agencies to deal with what it describes as” global concerns “.

Last fall The UK also announced plans to establish a pro-competition regulation regime aimed at tackling the market strength of the big technology. Following a major market study of online platforms and digital advertising conducted by CMA – which published it Advice to the government On shaping that regime in December.

“As the CMA works with the government on these proposals – which will complement its current enforcement powers – the CMA will continue to use its existing powers to its fullest extent to protect it from competition in these areas,” he said today .

“Ongoing examination in digital markets has already uncovered some worrying trends,” Coscelli said. “We know that businesses, as well as consumers, can suffer real harm if competitive practices become uncontrolled by big technology. So we are under pressure to set up a new digital market unit and start a new inquiry wherever we have it. “

Among other recent actions targeting tech giants, the CMA has opened an investigation Google plans to phase out third party tracking cookies – and launched an investigation into Uber’s planned acquisition of UK SaaS maker Autocab.

In its finals Report good In the online advertising market last year, it concluded that Google and Facebook’s market power had become a new regulatory approach and a dedicated oversight body to briefly address it as “broad-based and self-reinforcing” is required.

The upcoming digital market unit will form an important part of the regulatory response to the UK’s big technology.