Following up on the investigations by the European Union and the U.S. Congress into Apple's alleged anti-competitive behavior when it comes to the App Store, Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog, called Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS), has also called out the company for abusing its dominant position.
FAS started its investigation into Apple's App Store in September 2019, when Kaspersky Lab filed a complaint because Apple rejected its parental control app Kaspersky Safe Kids (KSK), due to which it had to remove a considerable amount of features from it to get it approved. This was around the same time when Apple launched iOS 13 for iPhone and iPad.
The FAS said in a statement:
"Apple occupies a dominant position with a 100% share of the market for mobile apps based on the iOS operating system because it is only legally possible to install such apps from the App Store,"
The FAS added that Apple had limited third-party parental control software since October 2018, when it launched Screen Time with iOS 12. Apple had started rejecting parental control apps which were previously approved for sale in the App Store and in use by customers. This meant that developers had to remove various features from their apps to ensure that Apple continues to allow them to operate in the App Store.
Based on the complaints, FAS noted that even if third-party apps complied with Apple's requirements, the company could remove them from the App Store nonetheless.
"The company reserved the right to switch off and block any third-party app from the App Store even if that app met all of Apple's specifications."
As per Interfax, the next steps from FAS will be to issue an order to Apple to fix the violations. Meanwhile, Apple has responded that it respects the FAS but disagrees with its decisions and will appeal the ruling.
Apple has been battling anti-trust battles over the past year on many fronts. Spotify, Tile, Hey, and other developers have been complaining about the company's policies with the EU and the U.S. Read more for our on-going coverage on Apple's anti-trust woes:
- Apple Pay and App Store Face Antitrust Investigations by European Union
- EU Is Looking Into Apple Pay Anti-Competitive Concerns
- Big Tech’s Antitrust Hearing – Lawmakers Grill CEOs from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google
- Microsoft President Discusses Antitrust Concerns with U.S. Committee Against Apple’s App Store
- Spotify Expects Apple to Further ‘Open Up’ Ecosystem After Antitrust Complaint with European Union