The U.K. is investigating Apple Inc.’s treatment of app developers that offer their wares on the company’s App Store, adding a new front to antitrust complaints against the iPhone maker.
The Competition and Markets Authority, the U.K.’s antitrust regulator, said Thursday that it has opened an investigation into whether Apple imposes unfair or anticompetitive conditions on app developers, including requirements that some types of apps use Apple’s in-app payment system, from which Apple can take commissions of up to 30%.
The authority said it opened the investigation following complaints from developers about some of Apple’s terms, such as the requirement that all apps on iPhones and iPads must be distributed through Apple’s store. The authority said it would conduct its initial investigation through September, and no decision has been made about whether the company broke any laws.
Andrea Coscelli, the regulator’s chief executive, said special scrutiny is warranted for “complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice—potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps.”
Apple said Thursday that it will work with the CMA, and defended the requirements it places on app developers when submitting apps, saying they are “applied fairly and equally to all developers” and are necessary “to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent.”