UK antitrust authorities opened a probe into Apple Inc and its App Store to examine whether the iPhone maker is abusing its market power by insisting on its own payment system to restrict competition.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will consider Apple’s potentially “dominant” position in the supply of apps on iPhones and iPads, it said in a statement on Thursday. The probe will focus on how Apple forces customers to use its own payment system for in-app purchases, the CMA said.
“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,” said Andrea Coscelli, who leads the CMA. The Apple probe comes as the UK watchdog seeks to move to the forefront of tech regulation after emerging from the shadow of European Union regulators at the end of Britain’s Brexit transition. It is preparing to set up a tech-focused unit next month and has warned that the largest companies will face extra scrutiny of everything from mergers to monopoly behaviour.
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