It is no secret that Google and Apple have monopolies on their respective platform’s application marketplaces. Apple owns iOS’ App Store and Google owns Android’s Play Store. There are almost no other alternatives for third-party and indie developers to distribute their applications, which are sometimes their only source of income. That gives Apple and Google an edge to treat developers however they see fit, which may not be always for the best. The newest official report claims that The Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) is going to investigate both of these marketplaces.
ACM is worried about the lack of competition inside this segment, which almost always causes unfair practices. One of the most important things ACM is going to investigate is whether Apple and Google treated their own applications differently than the competitors inside their application marketplaces. Google has been a subject of similar investigations by the European Commission, where they decided that Google is giving preferential treatment to its services in the search engine results. ACM reports that they mostly received reports of unfair practices concerning Apple’s App Store. Apparently, some developers gave very detailed feedback on the issues.
Apart from the investigation, ACM will also start a market study to check the competition conditions on the platforms. They are interested in the in-app payment system of the App Store and Play Store. As you probably already know, both of the companies demand companies to use the marketplace’s first-party in-app purchase system with a 30% commission. iOS developers are also complaining that they can’t unleash the full potential of the devices, while Apple’s applications can.
The investigation has not started yet, so we obviously don’t know the outcome. After the investigation, ACM may decide that Google and Apple don’t violate the fair competition practices at all.
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