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EU Announces Investigations into App Store In-App Purchase Rules and Apple Pay

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The European Commission today said it has opened two formal antitrust investigations into Apple's App Store and Apple Pay mobile payment system.


The first investigation will assess whether Apple's rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store violate EU competition rules.

It will focus in particular on the mandatory use of Apple's own in-app purchases system and restrictions on the ability of developers to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities outside of apps.

The investigation follows up on separate complaints by Spotify and ebook distributor Kobo on the impact of the App Store rules on competition in music streaming and e-books/audiobooks.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content. Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads. It appears that Apple obtained a 'gatekeeper' role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple's popular devices. We need to ensure that Apple's rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple's App Store rules and their compliance with EU competition rules."
The second investigation into Apple Pay follows a preliminary EC investigation that flagged concerns regarding Apple's terms, conditions, and other measures related to the use of Apple Pay that may distort competition and reduce choice and innovation. In addition, the EC notes that Apple Pay is the only mobile payment solution that can access the NFC "tap and go" technology embedded in Apple's devices for in-store payments.

Responding to the announcements, a spokesperson for Apple gave the following statement:
"We developed the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs and developers.

"We're deeply proud of the countless developers who've innovated and found success through our platform. And as we've grown together, we've continued to deliver innovative new services — like Apple Pay — that provide the very best customer experience while meeting industry-leading standards for privacy and security.

"It's disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don't want to play by the same rules as everyone else. We don’t think that's right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed."
There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end, and the duration of an antitrust investigation depends on a range of factors that can take years to work through, but the EC said it will carry out its investigations "as a matter of priority."

Article Link: EU Announces Investigations into App Store In-App Purchase Rules and Apple Pay
 
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TiggrToo

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Aug 24, 2017
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Out there...way out there
As much as I love my Apple gear, I can't say I blame the EU for this. It does feel that Apple do take advantage of this virtual monopoly, especially when it comes to charging 3rd party services the same 30% as it does for taking a cut of app costs.

Not so sure on the Apple Pay move though: if Apple should be forced to open the secure enclave used for Pay to 3rd parties then they might as well stop securing it.

Granted there may be ways to create multiple enclaves - perhaps they could charge each vendor an enclave cost (and something not cheap either) bit then that would probably preclude older devices and the EU still wouldn't be happy...
 
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billk711

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2011
42
-3
As much as I love my Apple gear, I can't say I blame the EU for this. It does feel that Apple do take advantage of this virtual monopoly, especially when it comes to charging 3rd party services the same 30% as it does for taking a cut of app costs.

Not so sure on the Apple Pay move though: if Apple should be forced to open the secure enclave used for Pay to 3rd parties then they might as well stop securing it.

Granted there may be ways to create multiple enclaves - perhaps they could charge each vendor an enclave cost (and something not cheap either) bit then that would probably preclude older devices and the EU still wouldn't be happy...
Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america
 
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swm

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2013
368
536
i am from the EU, but this is beyond stupidity.
will we also demand from brick and mortar stores, from eBay, from all online retailers to have an up-to-date pricing information displayed from their competitors? and meanwhile grocery islands from gas stations be like (o)(o)...
 
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TiggrToo

macrumors 68040
Aug 24, 2017
3,010
6,410
Out there...way out there
Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america

That's totally irrelevant. A monopoly is a monopoly and the EU has every right to look into this. In fact, they'd be remiss not to.
 
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sharleyP

macrumors newbie
Mar 8, 2017
28
132
"It's disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don't want to play by the same rules as everyone else. We don’t think that's right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed."

It doesn’t feel like a level playing field to me: https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/1/2...e-video-ios-app-store-cut-exempt-program-deal
 
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ruka.snow

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2017
909
2,521
Scotland
Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america

And without all the developers there wouldn't be an App Store. It is not a one sided arrangement and every business needs oversight and rules to follow. If we don't have oversight we end up with fewer and fewer businesses(very un-American) and no way for new starts to even remotely take off. If it wasn't for the EU the whole internet would be built for IE only as that would be the only browser shipped by Microsoft.
 
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ervingv

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2020
111
134
Hamburg, Germany
Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america
lol and without developers creating apps, there wouldn’t be a successful App Store. People forget, that back in the early App Store days, Kindle was able to promote their store within the app before Apple decided to change the rules due to their release of iBooks.
 
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Maximara

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2008
610
299
As much as I love my Apple gear, I can't say I blame the EU for this. It does feel that Apple do take advantage of this virtual monopoly, especially when it comes to charging 3rd party services the same 30% as it does for taking a cut of app costs.

What "virtual monopoly"? Per statcounter iOS (ie the Apple phone) has about 25% of the marketshare while andriod has the remainder (75% for those who like these two whining companies can't be bothered with the math)

Not so sure on the Apple Pay move though: if Apple should be forced to open the secure enclave used for Pay to 3rd parties then they might as well stop securing it.

Granted there may be ways to create multiple enclaves - perhaps they could charge each vendor an enclave cost (and something not cheap either) bit then that would probably preclude older devices and the EU still wouldn't be happy...

Let's be real here the complaints are BS:

"It appears that Apple obtained a 'gatekeeper' role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple's popular devices." Yes so you don't get scammed by the bucket load of questionable stuff out there. Besides why you wining about someone who has only 25% of the mobile market.

In fact that 25% of the mobile market shoots down every argument these two clowns have.
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This reminds me of the time Apple’s iBook publishing violated the law. Your move Apple
You seem to have forgotten about Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group, Inc., and Simon & Schuster, Inc. settled their claims.
 
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iPadified

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2017
781
695
What "virtual monopoly"? Per statcounter iOS (ie the Apple phone) has about 25% of the marketshare while andriod has the remainder (75% for those who like these two whining companies can't be bothered with the math)



Let's be real here the complaints are BS:

"It appears that Apple obtained a 'gatekeeper' role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple's popular devices." Yes so you don't get scammed by the bucket load of questionable stuff out there. Besides why you wining about someone who has only 25% of the mobile market.

In fact that 25% of the mobile market shoots down every argument these two clowns have.
[automerge]1592308148[/automerge]

You seem to have forgotten about Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group, Inc., and Simon & Schuster, Inc. settled their claims.
So no fair competition in the walled Apple garden?
 
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xWhiplash

Contributor
Oct 21, 2009
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How is this different from the Xbox or PS4? If I want to digitally release my game, I can only do so on their platform.
 
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Biro

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2012
93
39
The EU may have some points about App Store rules and fee structure, which have evolved over the years. But I think it would be a big mistake to mess with Apple Pay, which was built for security. I don't want third-party apps to be able to access the NFC system of my iPhone. If the EU forces such a thing, iPhone users should remove their credit card numbers from Apple Pay and go back to using cash.
 
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vmistery

Contributor
Apr 6, 2010
809
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UK
How is this different from the Xbox or PS4? If I want to digitally release my game, I can only do so on their platform.
I believe because you can buy the games in many stores which will have different markups. If I find a game on Amazon and it is more than on another site I am not forced to buy from Amazon. The interesting point is though with their push to 'Digital Only' stores and the push to eliminate the second hand market whether this will remain true.

Personally I think 30% is an extremely high markup when the effort of the review and distribution is going to be a very small fraction of that. That said the trade off is we get a reliable, secure and easy to use distribution platform so pick your poison really. I support the investigation (at the end of the day without the EU we'd all be using internet exploder still) and will be interested to see what they find before I make a decision on it.

Apple pay I don't really have a problem with I should point out only the App store
 
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mrow

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2009
352
492
That's totally irrelevant. A monopoly is a monopoly and the EU has every right to look into this. In fact, they'd be remiss not to.

Apple doesn’t have a monopoly though. This would be more reasonable if Apple had Microsoft Windows-like market share on phones but they don’t and valid alternatives exist. Consumers are free to choose Android phones if they’d like. In fact, the majority of EU consumers users do just that.
 
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Dan Holmstock

macrumors member
May 11, 2016
73
95
Culpeper VA
How is this different from the Xbox or PS4? If I want to digitally release my game, I can only do so on their platform.


True, but perhaps since you can print physical media (at least for now) you can still sell your wares on the platform, where as the only distribution hub is the appstore?
 
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mrow

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2009
352
492
If it wasn't for the EU the whole internet would be built for IE only as that would be the only browser shipped by Microsoft.
What a ludicrous statement. The EU mandating the browser choice selection on Windows PCs sold in the EU is not what broke the global stranglehold IE had on browser market share.
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True, but perhaps since you can print physical media (at least for now) you can still sell your wares on the platform, where as the only distribution hub is the appstore?
Games sold on physical media still have to be approved by Sony and Microsoft. Company XYZ can’t just create a game and release it on a disc. It has to be approved and they have to pay a licensing fee to Sony and/or Microsoft.
 
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MacknTosh

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2015
131
223
Apple doesn’t have a monopoly though. This would be more reasonable if Apple had Microsoft Windows-like market share on phones but they don’t and valid alternatives exist. Consumers are free to choose Android phones if they’d like. In fact, the majority of EU consumers users do just that.

So if I develop an app for the iPhone, can I have Amazon distribute it for me? Can I sell it myself on my own website? Yes, I could choose an Android phone, as Apple do not have a monopoly on mobile phones. However Apple do have a monopoly on the distribution of apps for the iPhone. One of the investigations circles around the fact that Apple do not allow developers to state in their app that users can sign up to their service outwith the app (often for a lower price). I understand why this is considered an abuse of market position.
 
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