UK Antitrust Watchdog to Investigate Apple's App Store Policies [Updated]

Today the United Kingdom's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) launched an official investigation into the distribution of apps on iOS and iPadOS devices in the U.K. and the terms and conditions governing the platform.

app store blue banner uk

In September of last year, the authority launched an initial inquiry into developers' complaints about Apple's App Store and so-called "anti-competitive" practices. CMA is now wrapping up its initial inquiry to launch an official investigation under Chapter II of the 1998 Competition Act.

Chapter II relates to a specific company or organization using its domain position within a particular market or industry to limit competition and further enhance its position. In recent months, developers, motivated mainly by Epic Games, have accused Apple of using its dominant position on its platforms and the platform to hinder competition.

The authority says that it has "reasonable grounds" to believe that Apple has broken competition law in some form under the Competition Act of 1998.

The CMA says that its investigation will determine whether or not Apple has a dominant position in "connection with the distribution of apps on Apple devices in the UK – and, if so, whether Apple imposes unfair or anti-competitive terms on developers using the ‌App Store‌." Andrea Coseclli, the Chief Executive of CMA, says that as the world relies on apps every day, a complaint that Apple is using its position to limit competition and choice calls for "careful scrutiny."

As part of its investigation, the CMA will probe into Apple's 30% commission for in-app purchases. Apple requires developers to use its own ‌App Store‌ in-app purchasing system for purchases made within apps. As part of the system, Apple gets a 30% commission for any purchase made. Developers have voiced concern that the commission is too high, and as a result, Apple announced a lower 15% commission for qualifying, small-indie developers.

Update: Apple provided MacRumors with the following statement regarding the CMA's investigation:

We created the ‌App Store‌ to be a safe and trusted place for customers to download the apps they love and a great business opportunity for developers everywhere. In the UK alone, the iOS app economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, and any developer with a great idea is able to reach Apple customers around the world.

We believe in thriving and competitive markets where any great idea can flourish. The ‌App Store‌ has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place — applied fairly and equally to all developers — to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent. We look forward to working with the UK Competition and Markets Authority to explain how our guidelines for privacy, security and content have made the ‌App Store‌ a trusted marketplace for both consumers and developers.

Top Rated Comments

NightFox Avatar
5 weeks ago
It's easy to let subjectivity get in the way of a story like this, but the CMA is obliged to investigate cases where a company may be breaking the law (Competition Act 1998) and this investigation is doing exactly that, just trying to establish whether an offence has been committed or not. Of course, people might not agree with the law, but this is a law that generally works very well in the interests of the consumer.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Agit21 Avatar
5 weeks ago

This is the complete opposite.

The simplicity and safety of the AppStore is the reason for its HUGE success

I let my daughter spend far far too much on Roblox, most of which goes through the AppStore even though she can get more ‘blox for her buck’ online. She understands this and still prefers the AppStore due to it’s simplicty.
It's funny how no one sees the openness of MacOS as a problem.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
5 weeks ago

It's easy to let subjectivity get in the way of a story like this, but the CMA is obliged to investigate cases where a company may be breaking the law (Competition Act 1998) and this investigation is doing exactly that, just trying to establish whether an offence has been committed or not. Of course, people might not agree with the law, but this is a law that generally works very well in the interests of the consumer.
You are asking too much for the average MR user, to many of them Apple is above the law, never at fault, privacy paradise and can get away with anything.

The reality is that Apple must comply with competition laws, if they offer a marketplace (App Store) they must do so fairly, it doesn’t matter if they created it or not.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
makitango Avatar
5 weeks ago
How about just allowing apps on the device that are sourced from outside the App Store? Like on macOS.
This way the App Store can stay a safe and trusted place while also letting the user decide what software they run, and not ask for Apple‘s opinion all the time.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cardfan Avatar
5 weeks ago
Good news for apple users.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Scipster Avatar
5 weeks ago

iPhone using iOS, not macOS.
Right, so if the idea behind the walled garden on iOS/iPadOS is that it makes those devices more safe and secure... does this mean my Mac is not safe to use? Am I exposing myself to security and privacy risks by using a Mac? ?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
apple music for artists new icon

Apple's Revamped Apple Music for Artists Icon Leads to Speculation About iOS 15 Design Plans

Tuesday April 6, 2021 1:03 pm PDT by
Apple yesterday updated its Apple Music for Artists app with some minor bug fixes and improvements, but also one other notable change -- a new icon. New icon on the right The Apple Music for Artists app now features a simpler, streamlined icon with a pinkish red music logo rather than the multicolored logo that was used before. The icon also has an embossed look that makes it stand out from...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...
new m1 chip

M1 Mac RAM and SSD Upgrades Found to Be Possible After Purchase

Tuesday April 6, 2021 5:34 am PDT by
Technicians in China have reportedly succeeded in upgrading the memory and storage of the M1 chip, suggesting that Apple's integrated custom silicon for the Mac may be more flexible than previously thought. Reports of maintenance technicians being able to expand the memory and storage of M1 Macs began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend, but now international reports have...
Intel MBP Is Thin and Lighjt

Intel Ad for 'World's Best Processor' Features a MacBook Pro

Wednesday April 7, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Intel has been on a relentless marketing drive against Mac computers in recent weeks, positioning them as inferior to Windows laptops powered by Intel processors. In a slight slip-up, however, Intel has accidentally used a MacBook instead of a Windows laptop in one of its newest ads to promote one of its new 11th-generation chips as "the world's best processor." The ad appeared on Reddit and ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
14

Apple Seeds Seventh Betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the seventh betas of upcoming iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta updates coming one week after Apple released the sixth iOS and iPadOS 14.5 betas. iOS and iPadOS 14.5 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS 14.5 is the...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...