Australian regulators turn to Apple, Google Marketplace for harmful market practices

Australian regulators have expressed concern about Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, saying that tech giants are penalizing competing app developers.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Announces Provisional Edition report This identified some issues raised by app developers regarding the duopoly of the Google and Apple marketplaces.

“It’s true that the Apple and Google stores are gateways between consumers and app developers, offering significant benefits to both groups,” said Rod Sims, Chairman of the ACCC. “But there are serious problems with the operation of this market.”

The ACCC has warned that regulations may be needed if Google and Apple do not take appropriate steps to address these issues.

According to the report, Apple and Google have harmed app developers by favoring their own apps at the expense of other businesses that share the same market and leveraging an in-app purchase restriction system.

“Apple and Google not only run the app marketplace, but also compete with their own apps within the company. They have the ability and incentive to promote their apps more than any other. “Sims said.

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Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims spoke in an interview with Reuters on October 31, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Reuters / Jason Reid)

One of the main forms of Google and Apple’s self-priority was the result of first-party apps that reportedly benefited from increased discoverability and publicity in the market.

Another form contained Google and Apple’s own apps that were pre-installed on Android and iOS operating systems by default.

This information is based on a previous study by ACCC, with Google Chrome, the Google browser, pre-installed on almost every Android device, and Google Search is the default search engine for over 95% of all mobile devices. It turned out to be.

This is despite the numerous alternatives available, including search engines such as DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, and Qwant. And browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera.

The ACCC suggests that Google and Apple should clarify how apps are advertised and displayed, allowing users to remove many pre-installed apps that come with their phones.

“App developers need to have more information about how to make their apps discoverable to consumers, and believe that consumers need to be able to change or remove pre-installed or default apps. “I will,” said Sims.

The ACCC also considered requesting a selection screen that would be displayed the first time the user booted the device and would display a list of alternative browsers or search engines that could be selected, as well as those preselected by the manufacturer.

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A “selection screen” (screenshot) that provides consumers with a choice of alternative web browsers to use.

Another major concern raised by app developers was the duopoly in-app purchase system, which charged a 30% fee for payments processed by many apps and was reduced to 15% in some situations. ..

The report states that app developers need to relax restrictions on offering alternative payment options to their users. This can lower consumer prices and allow app developers to innovate more broadly.

The issue of two tech giants taxing app developers through the marketplace was most prominently challenged by Epic Games and its mobile app, Fortnite.

Epic Games sought to circumvent the commission system and urged users to purchase the app through Fortnite’s own in-app payment processor.

The company argued that consumers could save money because Epic Games didn’t have to raise prices to cover the fees. In response, Google has removed Fortnite from the store, affecting more than 470,000 players in Australia.

According to the report, Android and iOS account for almost 100% of the global market (excluding China), and in Australia, both Google and Apple account for about 50% of this market.

The survey is up to date 5 year inquiry Introduced to Australia’s digital platforms and services, reports are provided every 6 months.

Daniel Teng contributed to this report.

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