Russia might force Apple to change critical App Store payment policy


App Store
Russia joined the voices around the world demanding Apple loosen its grip on the App Store and in-app purchases.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Add Russia to the list of countries investigating the App Store. It is reportedly looking into whether Apple’s policy forbidding iPhone developers from telling customers about alternate — and possibly cheaper — payment options is a violation of its antitrust laws.

The U.S. and other countries are asking that same question.

Russian bear looks into App Store payment policies

Russia’s anti-monopoly regulator had already warned Apple that it faced a fine if it didn’t change the App Store policy, according to Reuters.

Apple could end up having to pay a fine “based on its revenue in Russia,” according to the news agency.

No ‘steering’ allowed… for now

Apple forbids developers to point customers to their own websites to make in-app purchases, a process called “steering.” Currently, these purchases must go through Apple’s payment system. For now.

The judge’s ruling in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit ordered the iPhone-maker to change that rule. The ruling is being appealed, though.

But antitrust investigators in the Netherlands recently ordered Cupertino to make changes to App Store rules over in-app payments. There was a similar ruling in South Korea in late August.

With all of this pressure, Apple will be hard pressed to maintain its lock on in-app payments.


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