Pavel Durov has filed a formal antitrust complaint with the European Commission due to the dominant position of AppStore in the iOS app market. It requires users to be able to download programs from third-party stores.
In June, the European Commission opened two antitrust investigations into the AppStore and Apple Pay. Complaints were made by Tile, Spotify, and Rakuten – they were unhappy with the too-high commission that Apple takes from developers and the inability to download applications from other sources. According to companies, this hinders competition.
Now they are joined by the Telegram messenger. In an address to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, Apple should “allow users to be able to download software outside of the AppStore”, the Financial Times reported.
Store commission revenue brings Apple about $1 billion a month. The creator of Telegram, Pavel Durov, denied Tim Cook’s statement that this money is spent on maintaining the AppStore.
“Launching an app store is only a fraction of what Apple takes from app developers. It receives billions of dollars every quarter from third-party services. Meanwhile, the costs of hosting and moderation are in the tens of millions”, said Durov.
Telegram has also accused the company of holding back innovation. In 2016, Pavel Durov was going to launch a gaming service, but Apple did not allow this and even stated that it could remove the messenger from the AppStore, referring to the store’s policy. As a result, the development had to be abandoned.
The European Commission will investigate the activities of Apple: in particular, to establish what conditions the company puts forward to developers who want to launch their applications in their official store, and what restrictions it puts on the use of its mobile payment system.
In turn, Apple said it considers the accusations unfounded. “It is disappointing that the European Commission is pushing forward groundless claims from a handful of companies that just want freebies and do not want to play by the rules by which everyone is playing,” said a spokesman.
Tim Cook said he was not opposed to the investigation, but believes Apple’s business policy is correct. According to him, the company supports competition and believes that it allows developing the market. Apple also responded to Spotify’s complaint and accused the service of using the app store to quickly grow its business, and then refused to contribute to promoting the system.
Earlier, members of the antitrust subcommittee of the US Congress interrogated the heads of four large companies, including Tim Cook. He said that “Apple does not have a dominant role in any market in which it is represented” and treats all application developers equally. Nevertheless, the company was recognized as a monopoly, which could have serious consequences for it.