Apple is being investigated for suspected unfair competition in Russia, following a complaint from a Moscow cybersecurity company.
Kaspersky Lab says that Apple declined one of its parental control apps, prior to releasing its own Screen Time service. Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog has now announced that it will look into Apple’s behavior.
Kaspersky Lab first filed its complaint against Apple back in March. In a blog post published at the time, the company wrote that:
“It turned out that, according to Apple, the use of configuration profiles [in our app] was against App Store policy, and Apple demanded that these be removed, so that the app could pass the review and be published in the store. For us, that would mean removing two key features from Kaspersky Safe Kids: app control and Safari browser blocking.”
The Kaspersky Safe Kids iOS app was available in the App Store for around three years prior to the complaint. The complaint notes that Screen Time offers similar functions to the Kaspersky app. Both allow parents to monitor their kids’ phone and tablet usage.
Apple is therefore accused of having a conflict of interest by running the App Store, but also putting out products which compete with apps offered there. Apple has said that it removed several parental control apps because they, “put users’ privacy and security at risk.”
Abusing its marketplace position
This isn’t the first time Apple has been accused of abusing its position in the App Store marketplace. Earlier this year, Spotify complained that Apple was being anti-competitive by charging Spotify a share of its subscription fees through the App Store.
This week, Apple was also accused of abusing its dominant position by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission. Apple supposedly pressured Japanese suppliers into unfavorable deals.