United States antitrust regulators investigating Apple app store rates and policies

As part of an ongoing antitrust investigation into Apple’s app store policies, US antitrust regulators are studying the 30 percent cut Apple takes from subscriptions in the app, reports Bloomberg.

Government attorneys have met with developers over the course of the past few months, and at meetings as recent as last week, developers have been asked questions about Apple’s subscription rules.

Apple requires developers to use its ‌App Store‌ payment system for subscriptions, an issue that was recently highlighted when the “Hey” email app was rejected for requiring users to purchase a subscription on its website because the app’s developers They did not want to pay the subscription of Apple Rate. The problem was finally resolved, but led to multiple developer reports of Apple’s unfair treatment.

Government officials have questioned developers about the ‌App Store‌ review process, and at least one developer was asked if Apple cutting its 30 percent cut would resolve concerns, but the developer in question told the Department of Justice that the problem is not the commission, but the fact that Apple does not allow alternative payment systems.

Representative David Cicilline, president of the US Subcommittee of the Chamber of Defense of Competition that is investigating the policies of Apple ‌App Store‌, earlier this month called Apple rates “highway robbery” and said that Apple’s rules are unfair to developers and harm consumers.

The U.S. investigation into Apple App Store practices is in the early stages, according to Bloomberg, with the US Department of Justice focusing most of its resources on a separate investigation into Google’s dominance of digital advertising. However, the case against Apple has been described as “serious”, but the investigation continues and no decisions have been made.

Upon completion of the investigation, the antitrust committee will generate a report with recommendations for legislative action.

Apple is also facing a European antitrust complaint over its 30 percent reduction in e-books in the ‌App Store‌, caused by Rakuten’s Kobo subsidiary. Kobo said Apple’s fee is anti-competitive due to Apple’s Book service, which doesn’t have to pay the same fee.