Group of Chinese developers launch antitrust complaint over App Store policies

A group of Chinese developers has filed a complaint against Apple alleging that the company has violated antitrust regulations in that country, Reuters reports. The group consisting of 28 developers is being represented by the Beijing-Based law firm Dare & Sure, and is accusing Apple of charging excessive fees and arbitrarily removing apps from the Chinese App Store without explanation. According to Lin Wei, an attorney at the firm, “During its localization process Apple has run into several antitrust issues … after an initial investigation we consulted a number of enterprises and got a very strong response.” The law firm extends an invitation to developers in April to participate in the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday with China’s two anti-trust regulators — the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission. The law firm did not provide any details on which developers are involved in the complaint.

Although an Apple spokesperson insisted that the company’s App Store guidelines remain consistent across all countries, there have been a number of app removals in that particular country due to strict censorship controls. with the removal of the New York Times app earlier this year and the removal of VPN apps last month. Earlier this year, Apple also banned “tips” in social media apps, claiming they should be treated as in-app purchases and therefore go through Apple’s payment system. Despite these issues, however, Apple’s Chinese App Store remains the companies most profitable store globally.

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