Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service announced yesterday that it has begun its investigation against Apple based on Kaspersky’s antimonopoly complaint against the California-based company.
In March, the Russian security firm had complained against Apple for its App Store policies which were preventing other developers from operating on equal terms. Apple removed Kaspersky’s parental control app Kaspersky Safe Kids for iOS remarking some of the changes in its policies which obstructed the developers from using app control and Safari browser blocking configuration profiles. These were two important config profiles that let the app function as a parental control app.
These policy changes were introduced after Apple launched its own parental control feature – Safe Time on iOS. This feature allows users to set restrictions on applications which they spend more time on. Kaspersky has blamed that Apple is misusing its position as the platform owner. This will lead to developers of parental control apps losing some of their users and experiencing financial impact, the security firm said in a blog.
Kaspersky is not the only app developer on the App Store that has faced issues with a ban on certain configuration profiles. Parental control apps such as AdGuard and Kidslox also found themselves in a similar situation. Spotify also filed a complaint against Apple claiming that the company is using a monopoly for promoting its services without giving others a chance to compete on even terms.
In June, Apple made some changes to the Apple Review Guidelines which said that developers can use configuration profiles in applications for only with the explicit written consent of Apple. After this, Kaspersky had made a request asking for permission to use those config profiles, but it didn’t receive any clear response.
“Apple’s updated rules and restrictions do not provide clear criteria allowing the usage of these profiles, as well as information on meeting the criteria, which are needed for obtaining written consent from Apple to use them,” Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky said that Apple reserves the right to remove any application from the App Store at any time, without explanation, even those applications that satisfied all the requirements and passed the review. This imposes restrictions on third-party developers and lacks transparency.
Four years ago, Google was slammed for anti-competition practices against Yandex by the FAS. It is expected that Apple will receive a similar order for revising its Apple Review Guidelines if found guilty by the FAS.