Regulation

Australian Regulator To Examine Apple, Google App Stores

Australian Regulator To Examine Apple, Google App Stores

Apple and Google executives may be wondering if there's an app for, "time to call the lawyers."

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday (Sept. 8) issued a news release stating that it will look at the market power the two companies exert in the country.

"Issues to be examined include the use and sharing of data by apps, the extent of competition between Google and Apple’s app stores, and whether more pricing transparency is needed in Australia’s mobile apps market," the news release states.

“Apps have become essential tools for daily living for many Australian consumers, a trend that is likely to have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apps are, in turn, increasingly important for businesses as they promote, grow and run their enterprises,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said in a prepared statement. “We want to know more about the market for mobile apps in Australia, including how transparent and effective the market is, for consumers as well as those operating in the market. We will also focus on the extent of competition between the major online app stores, and how they compete for app sales with other app providers.”

Rickard added: “For app developers and suppliers, gaining a spot in one of the major app stores can result in significant sales, while failing to gain access can be a major setback. We are keen to provide greater transparency on how this process works. We are also interested in how data is used and shared in the app ecosystem, including the data available to Google and Apple as a result of their control of the major app stores.”

Public input will be accepted until Oct. 2.

The inquiry announced today is part of a previously disclosed five-year examination by the Australian consumer agency into the market for digital platforms.

For Google's parent company, Alphabet, the Australian probe comes amid similar investigations elsewhere, including in the United States.

Meanwhile, Apple faces a probe of its App Store practices in the European Union. Both companies, as well as Amazon and Facebook, have drawn the ire of some members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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