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.