ACM investigating charges of abuse by Apple in its App Store

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) says it will investigate whether Apple abuses the position it’s attained with its App Store. 

The business regulator agency says it’s doing this following indications that ACM has received from other app providers over the course of its market study into app stores. 

“To a large degree, app providers depend on Apple and Google for offering apps to users,” Henk Don, member of the Board of ACM, says. “In the market study, ACM has received indications from app providers, which seem to indicate that Apple abuses its position in the App Store. That is why ACM sees sufficient reason for launching a follow-up investigation, on the basis of competition law.”

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He adds that the ACM expects Apple and Google to exhibit fair and transparent behavior. 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.

ACM is calling on app providers to come forward if they experience any problems with Apple’s App Store, but also if they experience similar problems with Google’s Play Store. ACM will use that information in its investigation. The investigation initially focuses on Dutch apps for news media that offer their apps in Apple’s App Store. ACM has received many indications about such apps. However, this does not mean that a conclusion has already been drawn that a violation has indeed occurred. In the upcoming investigation, ACM will be looking into that question. One possible outcome of the investigation is that no violation is established.”