Apple fights Russian regulator’s demands on alternative payments for apps

Apple is challenging antitrust measures taken by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), which wants iOS developers to be able to educate customers about alternatives to Apple’s in-app payment option, Reuters reports. Apple wants judicial review of regulator’s warning, Russia today notes, which was originally issued with a September 30 deadline for the U.S. tech giant to change its anti-leadership policies. Apple did not comply, FAS announced the opening of an antitrust case against the company in late October.

The US tech giant’s policies on integrated payments are controversial to say the least. Apple requires iOS developers to use its own built-in payment system, which in many cases earns it a lucrative 30% commission on all purchases. Not only does Apple prohibit developers from allowing third-party payment methods in their apps, it even limits their ability to tell customers when they accept other payment methods elsewhere.

It is this policy that FAS specifically opposes. In an announcement at the end of October, the regulator said that Apple was “abusing its dominant position in the market for the distribution of applications through its App Store” by not allowing developers to notify “users of the application of the possibility [of paying] for their purchases outside of the App Store. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In August, in response to a class action lawsuit, Apple said it was “clarifying” its policies regarding developers advising customers of alternative payment methods. He said developers could use communications such as emails to share information with customers about alternative payment methods. However, it didn’t allow developers to do it themselves in apps.

Apple’s app store policies are facing a setback worldwide. In the United States, the judge in Apple’s legal battle with Epic Games ordered the company to allow iOS apps to direct users to other payment options, and gave the company a date December 9 limit to comply. Meanwhile, South Korean lawmakers passed a bill at the end of August that banned owners of platforms like Google and Apple from restricting developers to using their proprietary payment systems. The European Commission has also issued antitrust charges for the practice.

The Russian antitrust authority has clashed with Apple before this year, fining the tech giant $ 12 million over complaints it unfairly cracked down on third-party parental control apps. With its latest lawsuit, FAS is exploiting a much more controversial policy.

Lance B. Holton