The App Store developer revolt continues, as Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with its home country’s Federal Antimonopoly Service. The firm alleges the Cupertino firm’s tight control over the iOS App Store amounts to a monopoly.
Outlined in a post to its official blog, Kasperky’s FAS filing relates to Apple’s strict App Store policies, guidelines the iPhone maker allegedly leveraged to hinder distribution of an app that competed with features offered in iOS 12’s Screen Time service.
Kaspersky says Apple blocked the security firm’s “Safe Kids” app from distribution on the App Store on grounds that it violated paragraph 2.5.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines. That paragraph, which is found in the “Software Requirements” of the guidelines, says app should use only public APIs and run on the currently shipping operating system.
“Apps should use APIs and frameworks for their intended purposes and indicate that integration in their app description,” Apple’s guidelines read.
Specifically, Apple took issue with Kaspersky’s use of configuration profiles governing app control and Safari browser blocking. The tools allowed Kaspersky to restrict app usage based on App Store age restrictions and hide all installed web browsers save for a secure version built into the Kaspersky Safe Kids app.
The decision removing Kaspersky Safe Kids from the iOS App Store came shortly after the announcement of Screen Time at last year’s WWDC event. The app had previously been allowed in the store for nearly three years.
“From our point of view, Apple appears to be using its position as platform owner and supervisor of the sole channel for delivering apps to users of the platform to dictate terms and prevent other developers from operating on equal terms with it,” Kaspersky said. “As a result of the new rules, developers of parental control apps may lose some of their users and experience financial impact. Most important, however, it is the users who will suffer as they miss out on some critical security features. The market for parental control apps will head toward a monopoly and, consequently, stagnation.”
Kaspersky’s charges is just the latest salvo against Apple’s control of the App Store. Earlier this month, Music streaming service Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission, claiming Apple isn’t sharing customer information with vendors, takes a bigger cut of the action than they should, and unfairly limits third-party access to Apple Watch, Siri, HomePod and other Apple-owned technologies.
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