UK Extends Time To Review Apple’s App Store Monopoly

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British competition regulator, the CMA, extends deadline for its investigation into Apple’s App Store policies

The UK’s investigation of Apple and its App Store policies are to be extended until May this year, it has been confirmed.

The probe has been ongoing for a while now, as it was back in March 2021, when the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened its investigation into Apple’s distribution of apps on iOS and iPadOS devices in the UK.

The CMA began its investigation into Apple following complaints that its terms and conditions for app developers were unfair and anti-competitive.

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Image credit: Apple

App Store investigation

The CMA is investigating Apple’s conduct in relation to the distribution of apps on iOS and iPadOS devices in the UK, in particular, the terms and conditions governing app developers’ access to Apple’s App Store.

The CMA move came after the European Commission in June 2020 also opened two formal antitrust investigations into Apple, over its App Store and Apple Pay.

Many developers are unhappy with the 30 percent commission Apple exacts from digital purchases, that has previously led to lawsuits.

For example in June 2019 Apple was hit with a lawsuit in the US from two app developers, who alleged that the App store gives the iPad maker a monopoly on the sale and distribution of iOS apps.

But perhaps the most noteworthy challenge to Apple came from Epic Games, the developer of the computer game Fortnite.

Apple removed Fortnite from its app store August 2020 over the dispute, which revolved around app store charges that Epic argued is unfair.

Deadline extension

Now the UK’s CMA has updated its case document to reveal that “additional time is required.”

“Further CMA analysis and review extended from January 2023 to May 2023,” the CMA stated in its documentation.

The CMA also in June 2021 announced it had begun an investigation into the mobile ecosystem of Apple and Google.

The watchdog announced the investigation because of concerns Apple and Google have market power which is harming users and other businesses.

The CMA said at the time it was “taking a closer look at whether the firms’ effective duopoly over the supply of operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store), and web browsers (Safari and Chrome), could be resulting in consumers losing out across a wide range of areas.”