This week, Apple showed power by introducing a software update that gave customers more power to block app tracking of data, a change that sparked a feud with Facebook, which criticized the move as anti-competitive because it would interfere with the ability to sell online. The advertisement.
Companies are increasingly pushing regulators and courts to intervene. At a congressional hearing in Washington last week, companies such as Spotify, Tile and Match Group told senators how the policies set by Apple and Google, including the Play Store are another pinch point for developers applications, hurt competition and drive up application prices for customers. And next week, a lawsuit is set to begin in California between Apple and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite that has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over its charges.
Britain is conducting another Apple antitrust investigation in the App Store after receiving complaints from developers.
The case announced on Friday is part of a larger European Union effort to tackle so-called controlling companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. Policymakers are drafting laws that would prevent tech giants from abusing their market power to harm small businesses, including the way they run app stores.
Efforts to force changes to the App Store pose a threat to a rapidly growing part of Apple’s business. As sales of iPhones, iPads and other hardware devices mature, the company relies on digital services as a new source of growth. Investor optimism about the business helped drive Apple’s stock soar, giving it a market value of over $ 2.2 trillion, the largest in the world.
Pressure on Apple over the App Store has already led the company to make changes. Last fall, the company cut its commission on many app sales in half to 15% for developers who made less than $ 1 million a year on their iPhone apps. This change affected about 98% of developers who paid the commission, but it still hasn’t affected Apple’s bottom line; According to estimates from Sensor Tower, an app data company, these developers accounted for less than 5% of the revenue Apple collected from apps.
Apple earns a lot more by reducing the sales of the most popular apps. Match Group, which makes the Tinder dating app, recently said it pays Apple nearly $ 500 million a year in commission payments, its biggest expense.