There is a Chance that App Store Violates Japanese Antitrust Law

According to a recent assessment from the Japan Fair Trade Commission (FTC) that Nikkei published, Apple’s App Store regulations may violate Japanese antitrust law. Because Apple and Google control a duopoly of mobile operating systems and most of the app business, Japanese regulators do not think there is enough “competitive pressure” on these two corporations.

Japanese regulators want Apple and Google to allow users to use third-party payment methods in place of the built-in purchasing choices available in the App Store and Play Store for apps and services. As of 2022, Google and Apple both permit third-party payment choices for apps in a relatively small nation where legislation mandating alternative payments has been passed.

According to the FTC, commission rates for app stores that range between 15 and 30 percent may be an abuse of a dominating negotiating position. In response, Google claimed that most developers only pay rates of 15% or less, while Apple claimed that a commission-based approach was the best way to promote development.

The two businesses were also charged with rigging search results to elevate their apps over rivals, a charge they vigorously rejected.

The Japan FTC has stated its intention to collaborate with the government council on digital competition on new laws and has called for additional regulation to combat anti-competitive activity. According to FTC chief Ryota Inaba, the agency will “act strongly to any behavior determined to contravene antitrust legislation.”

According to a report released today, Japan may compel Apple to accept third-party payment methods, as it has done in South Korea since that country’s legislature forbade app store owners from pressuring developers to use their billing systems. In the Netherlands, Apple has a similar exemption for dating apps, allowing them to accept alternative payment methods following a disagreement with the nation’s Authority for Consumers and Markets.

Apple is preparing for the Digital Markets Act in Europe, which mandates that software be downloaded on the iPhone through sideloading or other app stores; functionality is anticipated as early as iOS 17.

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