Regulation

Dutch Antitrust Agency To Investigate Apple Over App Favoritism

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Apple is being investigated by the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) over accusations that it gives precedence to its own apps over competitors, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The news comes after Spotify recently requested the European Union also look into the issue, which its powerful antitrust department is doing. The ACM is looking into whether Apple takes advantage of its position by “by giving preferential treatment to its own apps.”

“At first, the investigation will focus on Apple because, at the moment, the most detailed reports have been received about Apple’s App Store,” the ACM said in a statement. “ACM believes that these reports may indicate conduct that is at odds with competition law.”

There’s been pushback toward Google and Apple over the issue of app stores, especially from developers who get charged. Amazon is also under scrutiny for its data use.

Last month, Apple said Spotify was trying to reap all the benefits of the app store without making equivocal contributions to it. The ACM is asking for help from other developers too.

“ACM is calling on app providers to come forward if they experience any problems with Apple’s App Store, but also if they experience similar problems with Google’s Play Store. ACM will use that information in its investigation,” the ACM said. “The investigation initially focuses on Dutch apps for news media that offer their apps in Apple’s App Store. ACM has received many indications about such apps. However, this does not mean that a conclusion has already been drawn that a violation has indeed occurred. In the upcoming investigation, ACM will be looking into that question. One possible outcome of the investigation is that no violation is established.”

Developers have also complained about the need to utilize Apple and Google payment services for users to get in-app purchases.

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