Apple is under formal antitrust probe in Russia

Make way for another antitrust investigation into large-hearted tech. Step forward Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service( FAS ), which has opened an official probe of Apple — following a complaint lodged in March by defence firm Kaspersky Labs.

Kaspersky’s complaint to FAS followed a change in Apple’s policy towards a parental self-control app it offers, called Kaspersky Safe Kids. Discussing the complaint in a blog post the security firm says Apple contacted it in 2017 to inform it that the use of configuration profiles is against App Store policy, even though the app had been on Apple’s store for nearly three years without it fostering any objections.

Apple told Kaspersky to remove configuration sketches from the app — which it says would require it to remove two key features that does it useful to mothers: Namely, app control and Safari browser blocking.

It too points out that the timing of Apple’s opposition followed Apple announcing its Screen Time feature, in iOS 12 — which permits iOS users to monitor the amount of time they waste squandering specific apps or on particular websites and place epoch restrictions. Kaspersky disagrees Screen Time is” basically Apple’s own app for parental sovereignty” — hence promote very concerned about the potential for Apple to exert unjust market superpower over the store it also controls by restricting competition.

We’ve reached out to Apple for provide comments on the FAS investigation. The companionship referred Reuters to a statement it represented in April about its policy towards parental govern apps, following other complaints.

In the statement Apple says it removed various such apps from the App Store because they” employed users’ privacy and safety at risk” — calling out the implementation of its what it described as” a highly invasive engineering called Mobile Device Management”( MDM ).

But Kaspersky claims its app does not, and never did, application MDM.

Following ailments and some press attention to Apple’s parental control apps crackdown ), the company appears to have soothed its posture on MDM for this specific use-case — modernizing the App Store Review Guidelines’ to allow using MDM for parental limitations in limited cases.

Kaspersky also says that the Apple Developer Enterprise Program License Agreement” clarifies that the implementation of its MDM-profiles and configuration charts in applications for home customers is only possible with the explicit prior written consent of Apple “.

However it argues that Apple’s updated rules and regulations still” do not provide clear criteria allowing the usage of these profiles, as well as information on meeting the criteria, which is needed for obtaining written consent from Apple to use them “. Hence it’s not willing to drop its complaint yet.

It says it’s also continuing to prepare to file an antitrust disorder over the same issue in Europe — where a separate competition-related complaint was recently levelled against Apple by the music work Spotify.

Kaspersky says now that merely official written affirmation from Apple — of” the purposes of applying the brand-new p. 5.5. “App Store Review Guidelines” for Kaspersky Safe Kids for iOS” — will stay its complaint.

Russia’s FAS has shown itself to be relatively alacritous at handling big-hearted tech antitrust disorders — most notably slamming Google with an order against wrap its services with Android back in 2015, a few months after local examine monster Yandex had filed a complaint.

It made the European Union’s competition regulator several more times before arriving at a same inference vis-a-vis Google’s competition-blocking Android bundling.

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