The Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) says that Apple and Google take advantage of their stronger bargaining position in the market. The authority further says that Apple and Google should foster innovation without impeding the development of new goods or services by competing developers.
JFTC says the business models of Apple and Google are problematic under the country’s Antimonopoly Act.
The JFTC began investigating Apple and Google back in October 2021 regarding their dominant position in the market in reference to restricting choice for consumers as well as stifling the competition. The regulatory authority has finally published its findings, and it says that both companies abuse their superior bargaining positions in the market.
According to the JFTC, both companies’ present business strategies are problems under the AMA, the country’s Antimonopoly Act. This is the same action that led to accusations of violations against Apple in 2018 about its purported “anti-consumer” interactions with regional cell carriers.
The JFTC examined Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store in-depth and offers numerous suggestions for improvement. Although it does not state it specifically, it would be necessary for the companies to allow alternative app stores on their platforms in order to comply with the authority’s conclusions.
The JFTC report states that the same footing regarding the app market must be assured in a section on the “prevention of self-preferencing in the app market.”
The report states, “[This includes making] it possible to use or select a system other than Google’s/Apple’s in-app payment system and/or Google’s/Apple’s in-app payment system,” it goes on to say that, “and separately setting the commission of using the in-app payment system and the commission of using app store.”
The organization also says that It would be ideal if Google and Apple continued to foster innovation without impeding the development of new products or services and the establishment of new ecosystems centered on such products or services by developers other than Google and Apple.
According to the report, Apple and Google must not use features that are not also accessible to developers. “[They must permit] access to the mobile OS functions at the same timing, scope and level as Google’s/Apple’s apps, products and services,” it continues, “so that other developers’ apps, products and services can be interoperable with the mobile OS.” The companies will be granted exceptions “when justifications are recognized from the viewpoint of security assurance and privacy protection.”
The report from last Thursday is not a penalty. Before taking any action, the government must further study and consider the findings. It’s unclear when that evaluation and action will take place.