Chinese app developers are accusing Apple of monopolistic behavior. These developers have even reached out to Chinese antitrust regulators in an effort to have authorities call out the Cupertino giant for its alleged unfair practices.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal ran a story on how 28 app developers united to file a complaint against Tim Cook’s company for allegedly violating antitrust regulations. The complaint reportedly points out what the developers see as unfair practices on the tech giant’s App Store.
In the complaint, the Chinese app developers suggested that Apple is practicing monopolistic behavior whenever it removes apps from its App Store without providing detailed explanation to the makers of the app why it is doing so. Furthermore, the iPhone 8 maker is being accused of charging excessive fees for in-app purchases. The developers also find it inappropriate for Apple to not respond to queries that are in Chinese. For them, this puts local app developers at a disadvantage.
“[Apple founder] Steve Jobs represented the American dream. But Apple’s unequal treatment of China’s young developers stops them from realizing their China dream,” Lin Wei, the attorney of Beijing-based Dare & Sure Law Firm that’s representing the developers, said. “During its localization process Apple has run into several antitrust issues … after an initial investigation we consulted a number of enterprises and got a very strong response,” Lin added.
The formal complaint by the developers was filed to two separate government bodies, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission. The second agency is what oversees antitrust matters in the country. Both government bodies did not respond to 9To5Mac when asked for comment if they are planning to investigate the claims made by the developers.
This is not the first time that developers are complaining about Apple’s inconsistencies and lack of transparency when it comes to how it manages its App Store. Many U.S. developers have also complained about Apple’s abusive use of its control over the App Store.
Despite being subject to China’s strict censorship, Apple’s App Store for Chinese consumers is the company’s most profitable store globally. This is mainly due to the fact that Google’s Play Store for Android devices is blocked in China. Despite Apple’s obvious advantage in China’s app market, local developers couldn’t help but feel being treated unfairly by the company as compared to their American counterparts. Nevertheless, an Apple spokeswoman maintained while speaking with Reuters that the company is using the same guidelines on the App Store across all countries.
Early this year, Apple started a worldwide crackdown on illegitimate apps on its App Store. This lead to the removal of 58,000 Chinese apps in one swoop this past June, according to the Financial Times. Dare & Sure did not provide details of the developers involved in the complaint. However, it’s very likely that the developers who filed the complaint owned apps that were removed by Apple two months ago.
Chinese app developers are accusing Apple of monopolistic behavior.