One holds a smartphone in front of the words “Available in the App Store” and the Apple logo.
Pavlo Gonchar SOPA images LightRocket via Getty Images
LONDON – The UK’s competition regulator launched an antitrust investigation into Apple on Thursday.
Competition and markets said it would investigate Apple̵
Apple allows developers to launch iPhone and iPad apps through its iOS smartphone platform. The company has a strict approval process for iOS apps and has been criticized for the 30% fee it charges for in-app transactions.
“Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order food to take home,” said Andrea Cocelli, CMA’s chief executive.
“Complaints that Apple is using its market position to impose conditions that are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers a loss when buying and using applications – require careful scrutiny.”
The UK study of competition with Apple follows similar moves from the European Union. Last year, the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into the rules of the Apple Store App and its Apple Apple mobile wallet. The CMA said it would continue to coordinate closely with the EU and other regulators, although Britain formally left the bloc last year.
An Apple spokesman said the company would work with the CMA to address its concerns.
“We believe in thriving and competitive markets where any great idea can thrive,” the spokesman said.
“The App Store is the engine of success for application developers, in part because of the strict standards we have put in place – applied fairly and equally to all developers – to protect customers from malware and prevent widespread data collection without their consent.”
Major US technology companies are facing increased antitrust control from regulators around the world. The EU seeks to curb Big Tech with extensive digital markets and service reforms. Britain, meanwhile, has its own plans to introduce new digital rules.
Epic Games, the creator of the popular video game Fortnite, was particularly vocal in his criticism of Apple. Epic claims that the rules of the iPhone manufacturer’s App Store are anti-competitive and in particular has taken issue with the 30% reduction that Apple takes from developers for in-app purchases.