The Apple App Store model at the center of disputes

Apple is weathering a legal and media storm. The most spectacular front is the trial opened since May 3 in a court in the Northern District of California, following a complaint for infringement of competition from Epic Games, the publisher of the online game. Fortnite. This procedure will end around May 21, with the hearing of Apple CEO Tim Cook. But the firm at the apple is the subject of a series of other actions. All have in common to target the App Store, this store through which users of the 1.6 billion iPhones and iPads must go to install applications.

Apple is playing part of its image here. So far, the company with the slogan “think different” has been singled out less than Google, targeted for abuse of a dominant position, Facebook, for invasions of privacy and the propagation of hate speech, or Amazon, for managerial practices. and aggressive fiscal policies. Proclaimed champion of the defense of privacy and security, Apple seeks to differentiate itself but is overtaken by questions of competition.

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The debates also touch on Apple’s model, based on the strong integration between hardware and software. The list of procedures is long. In the lawsuit in the United States, Epic Games is claiming the right not to use Apple’s payment solution, which has resulted in it being banned from the App Store. For the firm at the apple, the publisher of Fortnite seeks above all, through a media and legal campaign, to stop paying a commission. Supported by other developers, from Tinder to Deezer, united in the Coalition for app fairness, Epic has filed other complaints, in the UK and Australia. In addition, the App Store is still the subject of two group actions brought by US users and developers.

Complaints in France

In Europe, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager estimated on April 30, in a preliminary opinion, that Apple “Distorts the competition” in the distribution of music applications, following a complaint from Spotify. His British counterpart announced on March 4 a ” investigation “ on the rules of the App Store, which are also scrutinized by Washington. The Australian authority has just published a report advocating reforms of Apple and Google’s application stores.

In France, players in the advertising world and the start-up association France Digitale have filed a complaint, respectively before the Competition Authority and the Commission de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), against Apple’s measures. restricting ad tracking on the iPhone. Finally, on the legislative side, the European project to regulate the Digital Markets Act platforms provides for rules for app stores: like the American democratic parliamentarians, Brussels is considering banning them from “Preferential treatment” of their applications and require them to allow developers to promote alternative offers to their customers, which Apple restricts.

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