Russia fines Apple $12 million for allegedly abusing its App Store dominance

Apple has been fined $12 million by Russia’s antitrust regulator (FAS) for allegedly abusing its App Store dominance, Reuters has reported. The investigation stemmed from a 2019 complaint by Kaspersky Lab, which claimed that Apple forced it to limit functionality of its Safe Kids app, shortly after Apple introduced its own Screen Time feature with iOS 12. 

Last summer, the regulator sided with Kaspersky, ruling that Apple unlawfully blocked developers after forcing them to distribute their apps through its iOS store. At the time, Apple said that the software put “user’s safety and privacy at risk.” 

On top of the fine, the FAS ordered Apple to remove provisions that “give it the right to reject (not allow) third-party applications in the App Store for any reason, even if they meet all the requirements.” It also said that Apple must take steps to ensure that parental control app developers can distribute apps without limiting functionality. Apple said it “respectfully disagreed” with the decision and promised to appeal it, according to Reuters

The decision comes as Apple faces increasing scrutiny over its gatekeeping of the App Store in both the US and EU. Later this week, the EU is expected to bring charges stemming from a 2019 Spotify complaint about Apple’s 30 percent cut for in-app purchases, which give its own music service an unfair advantage. 

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