Apple's App Store has come under intensified antitrust scrutiny following a lawsuit brought by Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, a hugely popular online game, before a US court. In parallel to the complaint against Apple, Epic Games has also sued Google over identical grounds.
The lawsuit is based on the same grounds as Spotify's complaint to the European Commission in March 2019 about the 30 % commission Apple charges developers for in-app purchases. Spotify's complaint (relating to music streaming) was preceded by a similar complaint by Rakuten concerning Apple's purportedly abusive 30 % commission on e-books sold through the App Store.
Following the complaints, the Commission opened a formal investigation into Apple a few weeks ago (see here), specifically looking at:
- the mandatory use of Apple's own proprietary in-app purchase system "IAP" for the distribution of paid digital content. Apple charges app developers a 30 % commission on all subscription fees through IAP;
- restrictions on the ability of developers to inform users about alternative purchasing possibilities outside of apps.
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