Japan accuses Apple & Google of unfair practices

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Tokyo, Sep 15 (IANS) The tech giants Apple and Google have been indulging in unfair practices to gain competitive advantage over other developers to sell mobile apps on their distribution platforms, said a local media report on Thursday.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy has allegedly accused the two US-based companies of exploiting their dominant position in the market to decide the sale policy of other developers in order to sell their products through platforms such as the Apple Store or Google Play, Efe news cited a local media report as saying.

These practices, including restricting payment methods for developers and limiting their freedom to price products, do not violate any Japanese anti-trust law. However, the ministry is monitoring the situation for any breach of law, said the report.

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The mandatory system used by Apple for payments through its channels, which includes a 30 per cent commission, known as ‘Apple tax’ or ‘iOS tax’, is also under the ministry’s scanner.

The commission hikes up the cost of the developer’s product, giving Apple a competitive advantage as its products turn out to be cheaper in comparison.

The report also stated the practices that require developers in Japan to sell applications only priced at multiples of 10 (10 yen is approximately 10 US cents).

If the developer sell his product for 125 Yen, he is forced to either charge 120 yen, which means he ends up losing money, or 130 yen, which gives competitive advantage to Apple apps, said the report.

European Union anti-trust bodies and other regional watchdogs had also warned against these practices by Google and Apple earlier.

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However, the report by the ministry is the first so far, which has pulled up their methods as a possible violation of competition laws.



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