Dutch Body ACM to Investigate Apple for Anticompetitive App Store Behavior

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets will investigate Apple to see whether it has used its dominant position in the App Store to promote its own apps ahead of others. The move comes after the authority received a number of complaints against Apple for its anticompetitive behavior in the App Store.

The ACM is also encouraging app developers to come ahead and report their experience on the App Store as well as Google Play. Such information will help the body in its investigation against Apple and eventually Google. The initial investigation will focus on Dutch news media apps available on the App Store.

ACM will investigate, among other aspects, whether Apple acted in violation of the prohibition of abuse of dominance, for example, 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. ACM believes that these reports may indicate conduct that is at odds with competition law.

Dutch developers have also complained about relying on Apple and Google’s in-app payment system in which they end up paying as much as 30% of their revenue as commission to them. Plus, they have also complained about poor communication from both Apple and Google in regards to app updates, app submissions, and other App Store related issues.

ACM makes it clear that just because it will be investigating Apple’s behavior, it does not make the company guilty of any wrongdoing leading to this move.

Our Take

Apple does not really offer its own set of apps through the App Store. Instead, they are bundled as a part of iOS itself. It is also unclear as to why Dutch “media news” app developers have complained about Apple’s behavior on the App Store especially since Apple News itself is only available in the Netherlands.

Apple has come under fire from the likes of Netflix and Spotify for using its dominant position in the App Store to its advantage. While arguments from Spotify do make sense to a certain degree, it is unclear how Dutch developers believe Apple has used its position in the App Store for its own benefit.

[Via ACM]