The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia has made a ruling on Apple’s violation of the antimonopoly legislation at the request of Kaspersky. The FAS reviewed the complaint filed by Kaspersky in March 2019 and issued an order to Apple to eliminate the violations identified during the antitrust investigation.
The complaint concerned barriers created by Apple in the form of (1) unjustified refusals to parental control app developers in the use of instruments and capabilities that Apple began creating during the release of Screen Time, meanwhile, Apple itself continued using them without restriction, and (2) arbitrary interpretation of Apple’s own rules and documentation. These barriers substantially degraded capabilities of core functionalities of third-party apps, which tilted competitive balance in Apple’s favor. This was possible because of Apple’s role as gatekeeper and position in a vertically integrated structure.
The problem with this prohibition concerned not only Kaspersky, but all parental control app developers.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the case, as abuse and misuse of power by large corporations have negative effects on competition and must be stopped. Healthy competition fosters progress from which users benefit. We hope that with the elimination order, Apple will correct its policies and attitudes towards competitors in the iOS-adjacent markets. We also hope that, when releasing its own applications, Apple will not put them in a more privileged position and will not create all sorts of obstacles and barriers for other companies,” comments Nadezhda Kashchenko, Chief Intellectual Property and Antitrust Officer at Kaspersky, LL.M, and Patent Attorney.
“After eliminating the violations, you can be sure that our customers will be completely safe and get exactly what they expect from our solution. Kaspersky Safe Kids installed on devices running on iOS will retain key functions, including high-quality web and application control, as well as control over the location of a child. We now expect Apple to provide third-party developers with the same tools and capabilities that Screen Time uses, which it deprived from developers in 2018-2019, so that they can continue to enjoy mutually beneficial cooperation with the company and promote further progress.”
“Unfortunately, as many have observed in the United States House Committee on the Judiciary hearings, Apple is proposing that these issues be addressed by providing dedicated staff to quickly pass reviews for publication on the App Store for some companies. And as other companies correctly answered, the question is not about quickly appearing on the App Store, but the ability to implement the necessary functionality and offer a complete, optimal version of the application on the App Store,” added Kashchenko.
Details of the FAS conclusion are available on the organization’s official website (Russian).