Kaspersky Files Antitrust Complaint against Apple for Monopolistic App Store Practices

Following Spotify, Kaspersky has now also filed a complaint against Apple for its monopolistic App Store practices. Kaspersky Lab has filed a complaint against Apple with the Federal Antimonopoly Service in Russia.

In its blog post, Kaspersky has detailed the situation which led to it filing a complaint against Apple.

Apple had sent a notice to Kaspersky Labs last year saying that its Kaspersky Safe Kids iOS app does not meet the para 2.5.1 of the App Store guidelines. The app made use of configuration profiles which Apple wanted Kaspersky to remove. This would have led to two key features — app control and Safari browser blocking — being removed from the app as they rely on the use of configuration profiles.

Both features are essential. The first allows parents to specify which apps kids cannot run based on the App Store’s age restrictions. The second allows the hiding of all browsers on the device, so kids can open Web pages only in Kaspersky Safe Kids’ built-in secure browser, which protects them from unsafe content.

What irked Kaspersky Labs is that Apple enforced this policy right around the time it announced iOS 12 with its own Screen Time feature. This allows users to monitor and limit the amount of time they spend on websites, inside apps, and more. Essentially, Kaspersky feels that Apple used its position as an App Store owner to ensure that no third-party app was able to compete with the features introduced by it.

As a result of the new rules, developers of parental control apps may lose some of their users and experience financial impact. Most important, however, it is the users who will suffer as they miss out on some critical security features. The market for parental control apps will head toward a monopoly and, consequently, stagnation.

Kaspersky argues that since Apple does not allow iOS apps to be distributed anywhere else, it controls the only way developers can reach iOS users: the App Store. By controlling the App Store, Apple is able to thwart competition and create a monopoly for itself. Using its power, Apple is able to create rules which favor its own products and services and discourage users from using third-party solutions. It is due to this reason that Kasperksy has filed a complaint against Apple with the Federal Antimonopoly Service.

Our Take

It is not new for Apple to change App Store rules and make changes in iOS that benefit its own services and new features. In the past, the company has numerous times asked third-party apps to remove features citing App Store rules violation and then went ahead and added the same feature to iOS.

Do you agree with Kaspersky’s reasoning here? I sure do. Guess, the time has come for Apple to play fair.

[Via Kaspersky Labs]