Secure messaging app Telegram files antitrust complaint against Apple in EU

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Telegram adds its voice to the chorus of developers complaining about Apple.
Photo: Telegram

Popular secure messaging app Telegram filed a formal antitrust complaint with the European Union over App Store practices, the Financial Times reports.

In a complaint addressed to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, Telegram’s creators argue that Apple must “allow users to have the opportunity of downloading software outside of the App Store.”

Telegram’s complaint joins previous complaints by Spotify and Japanese tech company Rakuten. Both made antitrust complaints to the EU over Apple’s alleged monopoly power. While those complaints focused on Apple’s App Store commissions, Telegram’s focuses on the App Store’s status as sole repository of iOS native apps.

Apple ideally wants all business related to iOS apps done through the App Store, rather than making it easy for users to download apps from other sources. While sideloading apps is possible, it’s not overly straightforward. And Apple certainly does not promote the practice.

“Every quarter, Apple receives billions of dollars from third-party apps,” noted Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov. “Meanwhile, the expenses required to host and review these apps are in the tens of millions, not billions of dollars. We know that because we at Telegram host and review more public content than the App Store ever will.”

Other Apple antitrust probes continue

This antitrust complaint is unrelated to the antitrust investigation currently going on in the United States. On Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook participated in a congressional hearing regarding antitrust issues. During the hearing, Cook defended Apple’s business practices.

The EU also has an antitrust investigation open examining Apple Pay.