Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

U.K. Antitrust Agency Investigating Apple Over App Store Practices

By Eric Volkman - Updated Mar 4, 2021 at 4:29PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Controversy continues to dog the company over its relationship to app developers.

Apple's (AAPL 1.70%) App Store is attracting more controversy. On Thursday the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), an antitrust arm of the U.K. government, disclosed that it has launched an investigation into the U.S. tech giant's business practices with the online store.

The CMA said it was doing so in the wake of both complaints from developers about those practices and the agency's own work in the digital sphere. These allege that Apple's fairly strict terms for developers to get their software into the App Store are not fair and possibly in violation of the country's competition law.

Man using smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

In other jurisdictions, such as the U.S., Apple has come under fire for the way it partners with developers in that marketplace. It takes a commission of 30% of all App Store sales and reaps similar fees for in-app purchases made by users. As the CMA pointed out in the press release announcing its investigation, the App Store is the only legitimate means for developers to distribute their offerings for Apple devices. It is also the only platform for Apple users to access them.

The CMA said that its investigation will focus on whether Apple's terms and conditions are unfair or anti-competitive to developers. It will also take into consideration whether user choice is consequently being restricted or if those customers are paying unacceptably high prices for apps and add-ons.

"Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order [takeout food]," the CMA quoted its chief executive Andrea Coscelli as saying. "So, 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 – warrant careful scrutiny."

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$139.77 (1.70%) $2.33

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
319%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.