By Jaime Llinares Taboada

 

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday that it is launching an investigation into Apple Inc. following complaints regarding the terms and conditions that the tech giant imposes on app developers.

The CMA said the investigation was prompted by its own work and by developers reporting that terms and conditions are unfair and could break competition law. Apple's App Store is the only way for developers to distribute apps on iPhones and iPads, and the only way for Apple customers to access them.

In addition, developers who offer "in-app" extensions or upgrades are required to use Apple's payment system, and they get charged commissions of up to 30% by the company on the value of these transactions.

"The CMA's investigation will consider whether Apple has a dominant position in connection with the distribution of apps on Apple devices in the U.K.--and, if so, whether Apple imposes unfair or anti-competitive terms on developers using the App Store, ultimately resulting in users having less choice or paying higher prices for apps and add-ons," the U.K. regulator said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Apple said the company is looking forward to work with the CMA and explain its guidelines for privacy, security and content.

"We believe in thriving and competitive markets where any great idea can flourish. The App Store has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place--applied fairly and equally to all developers--to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent," the spokersperson said.

 

Write to Jaime Llinares Taboada at jaime.llinares@wsj.com; @JaimeLlinaresT

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 04, 2021 06:11 ET (11:11 GMT)

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