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Apple’s antitrust investigation opens in Australia the day after Italy

Today, the announcement of the second Apple antitrust investigation in two days has been announced. Just a day after Italy announced that it was investigating the fairness of the iCloud terms, Australia says it is launching a broad investigation into both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it would examine the fairness of the two app stores from both a consumer and developer perspective …

The ACCC announced in a press release.

The ACCC will examine the experiences of Australian consumers, developers, suppliers and others in a new report examining mobile app stores.

Issues to be investigated include the use and sharing of data from apps, the extent of competition between Google̵

7;s and Apple’s app stores, and whether there is a need for more transparency in prices in Australia’s mobile app market […]

“Apps have become important tools of daily living for many Australian consumers, a trend that is likely to have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apps, in turn, are becoming increasingly important to businesses as they market, grow and run their businesses, says ACCC Deputy Delia Rickard.

“We want to know more about the mobile app market in Australia, including how transparent and efficient the market is, for consumers as well as those operating in the market. We will also focus on the extent of competition between the major online app stores, and how they compete for app sales with other app providers. ”

To help understand views, it invites both consumers and developers to complete questionnaires. The consumer asks people which app stores they use, and asks questions that cover a number of areas:

  • How their data is used
  • Whether they feel in control of the data collected by apps
  • To what extent they are affected by the appraisal
  • Whether the app costs are clear
  • Any problems with scam patches

Research areas for the developer version are:

  • What app stores do they use when submitting apps
  • Use of in-app purchases
  • Experience with app review processes, including appeals made
  • The impact of ranking and being featured by an app store
  • Whether they understand ranking and characterized processes
  • The data they collect and whether it is available for the app stores

The ACCC is asking people to submit comments to Apple’s antitrust investigation team by October 2, and it will report back in March 2021.

There have been growing complaints from developers in a number of countries about Apple’s commission and App Store policy, with Japanese developers recently highlighting deviations in Apple’s 30% cut.

In the United States, a congressional inquiry cited ‘deeply disruptive’ anti-competitive behavior by the company.

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