A new antitrust investigation has been launched against Apple and Google in Japan, in relation to market monopoly, but those accusations stretch all the way to the Netherlands where Apple’s practices on in-app purchases via the App store have been ruled as anti-competitive.
Via various reports online, it’s understood that the investigation has established that the obligation to use only and exclusively the App Store’s in-app purchase system is unfair and monopolistic.
In the Netherlands, the investigation started with complaints from Match Group , the parent company of Tinder and many other dating apps. This is just the latest in a long line of antitrust cases against Apple, which started as a result of Epic vs. Apple.
In Japan the country’s Fair Trade Commission is subjecting the company to full scrutiny and will compile a report on why the competition has remained static and also if Apple and Google are using anti-competitive practices to maintain their position on the market.
According to Nikkei Asia, commission secretary general Shuichi Sugahisa says the report will be based on interviews and surveys with users and developers.
Japan’s FTC will also hear from Apple and Google, and will also work with Japan’s central government’s Digital Market Competition Council, which investigates another of the four competition issues. In particular, these investigations address anti-competitive issues in cloud services, e-commerce and app stores, as well as digital advertising.
The investigators have to abide by the new Japanese law on improving the transparency and fairness of digital platforms, which was launched in February.
Officials have yet to decide whether this act applies to the smartphone and wearable device market. However, if they decide that is the case, Apple and Google will have to comply with the new conditions. More specifically, both companies will have to submit periodic transaction reports to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
According to reports from Nikkei Asia, iOS has nearly 70% of the local market, while Android is steadily occupying the rest of the 30%. Separately, it was previously reported that Apple sold almost half of all smartphones in Japan, in 2020, making Japan a very lucrative market, which the company most likely will do anything in its power not to lose.