ANTITRUST

DOJ Looks To App Makers In Apple Antitrust Probe

App Store

As part of an ongoing probe into Apple, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has contacted app developers to inquire about the company’s behavior and potential antitrust actions, according to a report by Reuters

Suren Ramasubbu, the chief executive officer of parental control app Mobicip, said the DOJ contacted him in April over how he was treated by Apple. The Mobicip has more than 1 million users.

The app was removed from the app store, Ramasubbu said, because it failed to meet Apple requirements.

A source familiar with the matter told the news outlet the Department of Justice has contacted a number of app developers since since the Apple antitrust investigation came to light in June.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has called for investigations for other reasons, including his accusation that tech companies like Facebook are working to quiet conservative voices, although he presented no evidence.

In December, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he wanted the numerous investigations into tech companies completed by this year.

Apple didn’t comment on the revelations, but did say it holds apps “to a high standard for privacy, security and content.”

“Since 2016, we have removed over 1.4 million apps from the App Store because they have not been updated or don’t work on our most current operating systems,” the company said on its site.

In June 0f 2018, Apple introduced the Screen Time app, which had built-in parental controls. Ramasubbu said he got a message from Apple saying that his app violated the company’s rules in terms of technical elements that were previously allowable. 

Ramasubbu said the app was taken from the store for six months so that it could be updated, and he said even though it was eventually reinstated, the app lost half of its business. 

Other companies with parental control apps said their relationship with Apple was fairly comfortable until about the middle of 2018, around the time Apple released its own parental control app. 

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