Australia Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Apple’s App Store

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Australia is now investigating app store policies as part of yet another antitrust inquiry into Apple and Google (via Gizmodo).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that it will investigate the competition between the Google Play store and Apple’s App Store, access to platforms and consumers, fee structures, data collection, and price transparency. The work is part of an ACCC inquiry spanning five years, which intends to produce reports every six months examining markets for the supply of digital platform services in Australia.

“We want to know more about the market for mobile apps in Australia, including how transparent and effective the market is, for consumers as well as those operating in the market. We will also focus on the extent of competition between the major online app stores, and how they compete for app sales with other app providers,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard. “For app developers and suppliers, gaining a spot in one of the major app stores can result in significant sales, while failing to gain access can be a major setback. We are keen to provide greater transparency on how this process works. We are also interested in how data is used and shared in the app ecosystem, including the data available to Google and Apple as a result of their control of the major app stores.”

The investigation will examine the experiences that Australians have with Apple and Google’s app stores, including consumers, suppliers, and developers. Part of this will involve a public survey and the full report is set to be delivered in March 2021.

In recent months, similar inquiries have taken place in the United States, the European Union, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, and Korea, as big tech companies come under increasing scrutiny for allegedly monopolistic and anti-competitive practices.

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