Netherlands competition regulator investigating App Store dominance abuse claims

Posted:
in iOS edited April 11
Apple is being investigated by a competition regulator in the Netherlands over the dominance of the App Store to determine if Apple has abused its position in the app marketplace, and has put out a call to developers asking for examples of potential abuses.




The App Store is a major force in the digital economy for iOS, along with the Google Play Store for Android devices. The importance of each to offer apps to consumers and to provide revenue to developers opens up the possibility for the stores to act as gatekeepers, and the potential to effectively pick winners and losers in the overall app market.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets is opening up an investigation into Apple and the possibility of it having abused its position with the App Store. ACM advises it is doing so after receiving indications from "other app providers" during a market study into app stores in general.

"To a large degree, app providers depend on Apple and Google for offering apps to users," advises ACM board member Henk Don. "ACM has received indications from app providers, which seem to indicate that Apple abuses its position in the App Store. That is why ACM sees sufficient reason for launching a follow-up investigation, on the basis of competition law."

The investigation aims to determine if Apple violated "the prohibition of abuse of dominance," such as by giving preferential treatment to its own apps over those produced by third-party developers.

While the investigation will be focusing on Apple at first, due to the "most detailed reports" received by ACM relate to the App Store, but it has also opened up the possibility for the Google Play Store to receive similar scrutiny if warranted, based on reports provided to ACM by developers.

In the market study, it was highlighted that the lack of alternatives to the App Store and Google Play means there's the theoretical chance Apple and Google could set unfair conditions, and that their development of apps competing with the rest of the market "may pose antitrust problems."

Developers apparently advised to ACM they didn't always have a fair chance against Apple and Google's apps, especially those preinstalled on devices. The requirement to use a designated payment system for in-app purchases, paying a 30 percent commission, some limited access to specific iPhone functionalities, and difficulty communicating with the market place owners are also seen as problems warranting an investigation.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    It's Apples Hardware, platform and Store. No developer it required to invest time or create applications if they don't want to. That Simple!
  • Reply 2 of 12
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,819member
    First, you can't compare Apple and Google in this argument. Ownership has to come into play, and that distinction needs to be made.

    A developer doesn't have access to an iOS user without that person buying an iOS device. Only Apple makes iOS devices. So of course, Apple is going to have an advantage over 3rd party developers. Apple competes at the device level, so to be competitive, they have to include built-in software and features. Any developer with half a brain should understand that.

    On the other hand, Android is an open application platform. Developer/OEM to user relationship can completely bypass Google. Google interjecting itself into that relationship is where things can go bad.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    normangnormang Posts: 68member
    What it really boils down to; is governments are looking for more ways to steal money under the guise of taxes to spend it on themselves, and others that don't deserve it.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 12
    rbc-4rbc-4 Posts: 2member
    normang said:
    What it really boils down to; is governments are looking for more ways to steal money under the guise of taxes to spend it on themselves, and others that don't deserve it.
    What are you on about? This is primarily about access for app and news providers to the stores, discoverability and preferential treatment of Apple/Google apps in their respective stores.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    What the heck is a “Netherlands” competition regulator?! I thought that they were part of theEU, and there was already an EU competition regulator, Vestager?

    These people get to double-dip? What nonsense. It’s like ‘Vermont competition regulators’ going after Royal Dutch Shell. 

    The US needs to go after and swat down these bozos aggressively. 
    edited April 11 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 6 of 12
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,114member
    Are they valid concerns or are they just an attempt to break down Apple’s vertical model?  More democrats demonstrating their intolerance for anything non-democratic.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,114member
    What the heck is a “Netherlands” competition regulator?! I thought that they were part of theEU, and there was already an EU competition regulator, Vestager?

    These people get to double-dip? What nonsense. It’s like ‘Vermont competition regulators’ going after Royal Dutch Shell. 

    The US needs to go after and swat down these bozos aggressively. 
    They’re not an Islamic state but I’m sure I saw some weapons of mass destruction last time I was there.  That should do it.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,344member
    Show me the law or regulation that gives right to have an app in the AppStore. Then we may talk about conditions and how fair they are. 
    Until then: my shop, my rules. You don’t like them, fine. Try elsewhere. 

  • Reply 9 of 12
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,344member
    What the heck is a “Netherlands” competition regulator?! I thought that they were part of theEU, and there was already an EU competition regulator, Vestager?
    Welcome to E.U. bureaucracy. 
  • Reply 10 of 12

    I check the App Store everyday for the stories and top apps, etc.

    I've never seen them promoting their own stuff there. The "Today" section always has interesting stories and none of them are about Apple's apps.

    I can't recall a day when the "App of the day" was an Apple app.

    None of the curated "top picks" or "our picks" have Apple apps.

    I think Apple is trying it's best to expose all kinds of apps and games. Apple realises that continued developer participation is vital to the eco-system.

    edited April 12 badmonk
  • Reply 11 of 12
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,451member
    What the heck is a “Netherlands” competition regulator?! I thought that they were part of theEU, and there was already an EU competition regulator, Vestager?

    These people get to double-dip? What nonsense. It’s like ‘Vermont competition regulators’ going after Royal Dutch Shell. 

    The US needs to go after and swat down these bozos aggressively. 
    Although many people (especially English speaking) use the name 'Holland', the more correct term is the 'Netherlands' as the country's official name is 'The Kingdom of the Netherlands. Comprised of 12 provinces, only two have the word Holland in them.

    I try to be correct when speaking to Dutch people but I was brought up using the word Holland so sometimes I slip up.

    On the other subject, each country can have its own competition body under the umbrella of EU law as all EU laws are transposed into national law and each countries laws are different in many ways (although they comply with EU law).
  • Reply 12 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    What the heck is a “Netherlands” competition regulator?! I thought that they were part of theEU, and there was already an EU competition regulator, Vestager?

    These people get to double-dip? What nonsense. It’s like ‘Vermont competition regulators’ going after Royal Dutch Shell. 

    The US needs to go after and swat down these bozos aggressively. 
    Could be worth getting these blackmailers kicked out of the WTO.
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