Apple under investigation in Russia over stifling competition in app market


Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has launched an official inquiry into the actions of Apple Inc. after cyber-security company Kaspersky Lab accused it of unfair competition.
Apple will be probed to see if it abused its dominant position in the smartphone application market, Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog said in a statement on Thursday.

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The investigation follows Kaspersky Lab’s complaint that Apple refused to update its Safe Kids parental control application on the iOS platform, which resulted in a loss of “substantial part of its functionality.” Kaspersky Lab claims that instead, Apple released an updated version of its own program, Screen Time, which has similar functions to the Kaspersky application.

The FAS said that Apple’s rejection of the new version of the Kaspersky app was unjustified. Furthermore, citing the media, the FAS stressed that 11 other developers apart from Kaspersky Lab had faced functionality deviations or restrictions over Screen Time launch.

“The FAS concluded that Apple’s actions, involving applying undefined software requirements to developers and rejecting software versions that have been previously distributed in the App Store, showcase Apple’s abuse of its dominant position in the iOS application distribution market,” the FAS stated.

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Previously, the developers of Ukraine’s Kidslox and Spain’s Qustodio, both parental control apps, filed similar complaints against Apple to the European Commission. A total of 19 developers of similar applications recently created an association and a website to force Apple to develop a technical solution that will allow them to continue working on iOS devices.

The FAS hearing is scheduled for September 13.

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