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The Netherlands Government Conducts An Investigation Against Apple, Finding The Company To Be Guilty Of Anti-Competitive Policies

The Netherlands government has recently reached the conclusion that Apple’s App Store actively propels anti-competitive regulations, and therefore has to update its policy or face a fine.

Far from being the first major investigation against the App Store policy and guidelines, this is only the most recent in a slew conducted by different governments, spanning over the past few years. 2021 may have been a profitable year for Apple, but it also brought a lot of external scrutiny to the table, as other figures and echelons of authority started to wise up and realized the company’s financial gain may not be so hard-earned. It’s not hard to see why, since the store has been facing criticism and complaints from the general populace and developers alike for years. Many of these complaints have been aimed towards the company’s near-predatory cut of the products, forcing developers to fork over 15% of all revenue generated on their app (in-app purchases included). Since the App Store is also the only accessible method of application downloads, except for other methods that will prove to be integral to this article later on, creators are more or less forced to give into Apple’s demands and make-do. Sure, this may not affect big names such as Meta, but most developers aren’t working for multi-billion corporations and are just trying to make a living.

There is another way of purchasing apps across Apple devices, however; it just doesn’t apply to every single app. If a developer has a separate website or online platform set up via which users can either purchase the app or in-app products, then the App Store has been successfully bypassed. Or, that would be the case if not for all multi-billion corporations being run by shady, greedy money men. Enter Epic Games, the company being Fortnite (if I have to explain what Fortnite is to anyone going through a tech article, then they’re either over 50, or too young to be here. If they’re 50, it’s a video game). Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple, stating that it had removed the developer’s titles from the App Store since it offered users discounts on in-app purchases, if made directly from the former’s website. Since this effectively drove traffic away from the App Store, Apple punished the company by kicking them off.

Of course, lawsuits take time and this dispute is still ongoing; however, other countries started to take note of Apple’s in-app purchase cuts. The USA, the UK, Russia, and other governments slowly started their own investigations into the matter, finding the company unanimously guilty for anti-competitive behavior. Naturally, Apple applied for appeals in all such cases, and is even planning to do so with the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers & Markets (which conducted this investigation in the first place).


H/T: Reuters.

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