Apple’s guidelines for app submissions, as well as its App Store and the fact that the company doubles as a mobile softer platform provider and a virtual store operator, are now being scrutinized by Australia’s regulators, according to a new report Tuesday.
In today’s statement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has confirmed that it’s taking a look into Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store policies after recently confirming that it was examining the digital storefronts for antitrust behavior.
Specifically, the agency is examining the use and sharing of data by apps, the extent of competition between Google and Apple’s app stores and whether more pricing transparency is needed in Australia’s mobile apps market.
The work is being conducted as part of a five-year inquiry, with reports about digital platform services set to be published every six months. An issues paper released by the commission asks for views and feedback from app developers and suppliers in their dealings with the app stores, while consumers have been invited to share their experiences via a survey.
The ACCC wants views on Apple and Google’s potential incentive to link or bundle their own goods and services through their app marketplaces and how they affect consumers and businesses. The ability for third-party app developers to compete against apps made by the firms controlling the stores is also being looked at, as are terms and conditions imposed on developers, the effects of fee structures, how apps are allowed or denied access to the app stores, rankings and the potential collection of consumer data.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard was quoted in the statement as saying that the organization is interested in the effectiveness of the market for mobile apps in Australia and transparency of these application stores. However, the investigation doesn’t seem to be as brutal as the similar investigations in some other countries, including Germany, Russia and the United States.
Submissions for surveys close on October 2. The final report is expected by March 2021.