Microsoft Calls For Antitrust Reviews Of App Stores

Microsoft's Brad Smith, taking a subtle hit at Apple's App Store, called for regulators to look into possible antitrust violations over the way companies are treating stores for those who want to distribute products.

Smith didn't name Apple directly, but said that some stores were crafting very high barriers and "increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created."

“In some cases they create a very high price per toll — in some cases 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper," he said, speaking at a Politico event Thursday (June 18), according to Bloomberg.

Smith claims some stores are operating in far more flagrant violation of antitrust regulations than Microsoft itself had when it was found guilty of disadvantaging sellers more than 20 years ago.

His comments came days after European Union (EU) regulators opened an investigation into Apple's policies over worries that the tech giant had been forcing developers to provide a share of app store revenue to the company. In those two probes, European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said the concern was that Apple was stifling the choice for better choice, quality, innovation and competitive pricing for those utilizing its apps for payment methods.

The EU will also examine, in a separate investigation, whether Apple has been taking too much in commissions from those using its services, and whether it has too often steered customers toward Apple Music over competitors' services.

Smith and Microsoft's concerns with Apple come from many of those same roots, with Microsoft having to give Apple 15 to 30 percent cuts on any subscriptions for Microsoft products utilized on Apple's computers and devices, including Microsoft Office and the email service Outlook.

Smith said it's time for "a much more focused conversation about the nature of app stores, the rules that are being put in place, the prices and the tolls that are being extracted and whether there is really a justification in antitrust law for everything that has been created," Bloomberg reported.

In response, Apple has said that many of its detractors are simply looking for "a free ride" and don't want to play by the rules.



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