The DOJ is in town, asking questions about Apple’s App Store

It’s been a year, but the Antitrust Division says it still hasn’t decided whether to bring a case.

From Mark Gurman and David McLaughlin’s “Apple’s App Store Rules Scrutinized in U.S. Antitrust Probe” posted Friday on Bloomberg.com:

Justice Department lawyers are scrutinizing rules that require many app makers to use the company’s payment system, according to people familiar with the matter.

Government lawyers have met with developers as recently as last week and are asking questions about Apple’s rules that require apps to use its App Store payment system for subscriptions, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing a confidential matter. Apple pockets up to a 30% cut when apps use the payment technology.

The Justice Department has been interviewing developers about Apple since mid-2019, the people said. The inquiry is continuing and no final decisions have been made about whether to bring a case.

My take: The European Commission may have decided for us.

See also: EU probe of App Store could bruise Apple

2 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    And what might be the outcome?

    If Apple’s rules are found unfair, the DOJ would have to find fairer rules, which is unlikely. With 2 million Apps, the DOJ creates for itself an administration burden with little benefit.

    If Apple’s 30% fee is found too high, it’s hard to see a material reduction. Apple does have some rules, grace periods etc. For example Amazon Prime subscriptions are sold elsewhere, and Apple just serves as a conduit, not really the ‘store’.

    1
    June 27, 2020

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