Australian competition watchdog wants Apple’s iOS to allow for alternative preinstalled apps

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently commented on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store saying that the platforms should allow users a choice when it comes to pre-installed apps. The commission had been investigating the market dominance of both digital app and game marketplaces, their payment mechanisms, policies, how they deal with data, and customer complaints.

Apple App store

ACCC’s report points out anti-competitive concerns regarding Apple App Store and Google Play Store

As reported by ZDNet, the commission said in its 165-page report that the ability to change preinstalled apps would give users more choice and also enable more competition when it comes to apps and services.

“There is a need for consumers to have more choice through an ability to change any preinstalled default app on their device that is not a core phone feature,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said. “This would provide consumers with more control to choose the app that best meets their needs, and promote more robust competition in downstream markets for apps.”

Apple’s App Store now shows government-approved alternative apps when users set up an iPhone.

The report goes on to say that both marketplaces impose unfair terms and restrictions and claimed that there was a lack of transparency when it comes to the approval process and dispute handling. Apple and Google have a share of 50% each in Australia, and their marketplaces are the main gateways through which developers can publish their apps for the popular mobile platforms.

“At one level there is competition between mobile ecosystems. At another level there is competition within Apple and Google’s mobile ecosystems,”

The report also says that app developers should not be restricted from allowing alternative payment mechanisms to developers as this would allow for cheaper apps and allow developers to innovate. Such a change would potentially allow developers to completely bypass the 30% or 15% commissions that Apple and Google charge while taking advantage of their digital marketplaces for free.

For now, the ACCC will be keeping a close eye on various investigations that Apple and Google face around the world, and will take them into account when it moves ahead with its report’s findings. Just a few days ago, we reported that the EU commission is set to charge Apple with anti-competitive behavior.

Apple had recently said that it was surprised by developer complaints with ACCC regarding their inability to reach the company when it comes to concerns about the App Store review process. This was during the time when the commission had started reaching out to various developers to understand their concerns regarding both Apple App Store and Google Play Store, which led to the publishing of this report.

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