Apple Officially Warned Against Abusing Dominant Market Position by Russia’s Watchdog

Following the numerous complaints by iOS users and apps developers, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS)has officially warned Monday the tech giant Apple to stop abusing its dominant position in the distribution market for iOS applications, Russian media report.

FAS was alarmed by the increasing number of users requesting assistance with cases when it was cheaper for them to buy goods like an e-book on a seller’s website and reading it afterwards in the application on an iPhone or iPad.

In the current situation, iOS app developers are obligated to follow the App Store’s guidelines that prohibits them to notify app users of an alternative method of payment – including links to the developer’s site or a service/ registration form leading to the website in a browser- for any item besides the App Store.

When taking note of the iPhone or iPad apps’ fine print, they noticed that users are blocked from being informed about the possibility of purchases outside of App Store where Apple gets a 15% to 30% commission from each payment.

FAS emphasized that Apple apparently doesn’t allow apps with such characteristics into the App Store thereby limiting developers’ independence, which negatively impacts competition and could lead to a hike in prices for products by developers.

Citing Law on Protection of Competition, the Russian anti-monopoly watchdog informed that Apple was warned to eliminate the signs of violations before September 30, 2021.

This is not the first legal wrangle Apple has run into with Russia since FAS had already fined Apple backin April $12 million for alleged abuse of its dominance in the mobile applications market, pointing that the tech giant gave its own products a competitive advantage by distribution of apps through its iOS operating system.

FAS has issued a directive in August 2020 after it established Apple’s abuse of its dominant position and asked the company to remove provisions, giving it the right to reject third-party apps from its App Store, which Apple obviously did since cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab later complained that Apple’s operating system has declined the new version of its Safe Kids application.

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