Australian competition regulator looks into Google and Apple app stores

Issues to be examined include pricing transparency and how data in apps is used and shared

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an inquiry into the extent of competition between app stores including Google and Apple.

Issues to be examined include whether more pricing transparency is needed in the Australian mobile apps market and how data in apps is used and shared.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said they are “interested in how data is used and shared in the app ecosystem, including the data available to Google and Apple as a result of their control of the major app stores”.

In a recent issues paper the regulator highlights various complaints on app stores. It includes that Google and Apple take between 15 per cent and 30 per cent of each in-app purchase and that Apple allegedly preferences its own apps over others in search results.

The commission also cites a recent issue between Epic Games, Google and Apple.

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The maker of popular video game Fortnite was removed from both app stores after Epic Games let consumers make in-app purchases directly, instead of going through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store purchase system.

The regulator said it will conduct a digital platform consumer survey which is part of a five-year inquiry and will produce reports every six months.

Submissions close on October 2 with the final report to be released in March 2021.

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