Apple Inc. is facing another antitrust complaint.
Telegram, the cloud-based messaging app with more than 400 million users, said that in 2016, Apple restricted the messaging app from launching a gaming platform on the grounds that it violated App Store rules, the Financial Times reported.
Pavel Durov, the app’s London-based co-founder, filed a grievance with Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s (EU) competition czar.
“At the end of the day, it is up to us, consumers and creators, to defend our rights and to stop monopolists from stealing our money,” Durov wrote in a blog post on Monday (July 27).
Durov said Apple is trying to limit innovation, and blasted the 30 percent commission charged to app developers publishing on the App Store.
While Apple receives billions of dollars from third-party apps every quarter, Durov claimed that the expenses required to host and review these apps are in the tens of millions, not billions.
“We know that because we at Telegram host and review more public content than the App Store ever will,” he wrote.” Actually, any company running a massive video platform will need more servers and moderators than a company running an app store.”
Last month, PYMNTS reported that the EU launched two antitrust investigations into Apple: one into the App Store and a separate probe after Rakuten and Spotify logged complaints over the 30 percent commission Apple takes from product and service sales made through the App Store.
With the Telegram allegation, Apple’s conflicts with developers over the rules of the App Store have escalated, the newspaper reported.
An Apple spokesman has disputed the allegations. “It’s disappointing [that] the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride and don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else,” he said.
This week, Apple reportedly sought a commission from ClassPass and Airbnb after the platforms offered digital classes due to the pandemic. The tech company told ClassPass that it should receive 30 percent of the sales because its classes offered via iPhone app were digital, the report said. Airbnb received similar communication from Apple once it started the online segments that provided offerings like culinary instruction, sources said.
Apple has said that not charging the commission would be unfair. “To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone,” the company said in a statement.