News: Apple fights Russian demands over the App Store!

06.12.2021 at 08:00 pm

Apple is challenging antitrust action by Russia’s Federal Antitrust Service, which wants iOS developers to be able to tell customers alternatives to an in-app payment option, Reuters reports.

Apple wants judicial review of the regulator’s warning, Russia Today notes, which was originally issued with a September 30 deadline for the US tech giant to change its anti-directive policies. When Apple did not comply, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service announced that it was opening an antitrust case against the company at the end of October.

The US tech giant’s policies on in-app payments are controversial. The company requires iOS developers to use its in-app payment system, which in many cases allows it to charge up to 30 percent lucrative commission on any purchases.

The company bans developers from allowing third-party payment methods in their apps, and limits their ability to tell customers when they accept alternative payment methods elsewhere. And it is precisely this policy that the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia objects to.

In an announcement at the end of October, the regulator said Apple was abusing its dominant market position to distribute apps through its App Store by not allowing developers to tell in-app users that they can pay for their purchases outside the App Store.

Russia wants Apple to relax its rules:

In August, in response to a class action lawsuit, the company said it was clarifying its policies regarding telling developers to customers about alternative payment methods. It said developers could use communications such as emails to share information with customers about alternative payment methods. However, it has stopped allowing developers to do this within apps.

App Store policies face opposition around the world. A judge in the company’s legal battle with Epic Games has ordered the company to allow iOS apps to direct users to alternative payment options. He gave the company a December 9 deadline to comply.

South Korean lawmakers passed a law in late August banning platform owners from restricting developers. The European Commission has also issued antitrust charges over the practice.

Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog clashed with the company this year. It was fined $12 million over complaints that it had cracked down on third-party parental control apps.

Written by:

Otto M Yassine

CEO of OTTO Magazine