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Apple faces antitrust probe in the UK over its Apple Store rules

The U.K.’s competition regulator on Thursday launched an antitrust investigation into Apple. The Competition and Markets Authority said it would investigate Apple over complaints from software developers about the tech giant’s App Store. Apple only lets developers release iPhone and iPad apps through its iOS smartphone platform. The firm has a rigorous approval process for iOS apps and has faced criticism about fees of up to 30% which it charges on in-app transactions.

Shares of Apple were down 0.5% in premarket trading Thursday. Tech shares were clobbered Wednesday amid concerns on Wall Street over rising U.S. bond yields. Britain’s competition probe into Apple follows similar moves from the European Union. Last year, the EU Commission launched antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store rules and its Apple Pay mobile wallet. The CMA said it would continue to coordinate closely with the EU and other regulators, despite Britain having formally left the bloc last year.

Large U.S. tech companies are facing mounting antitrust scrutiny from regulators around the world. The EU is looking to clamp down on Big Tech with sweeping digital markets and services reforms. The U.K., meanwhile, has plans of its own to introduce new digital rules.

Epic Games, creator of the popular video game Fortnite, has been particularly vocal in its criticism of Apple. Epic claims the iPhone maker’s App Store rules are anti-competitive and has particularly taken issue with the 30% cut that Apple takes from developers for in-app purchases. Last month, Epic filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the EU. It’s filed similar lawsuits with competition regulators in the U.S., Australia and the U.K.

Spotify and Match Group have also complained about Apple’s policies.

Apple faces antitrust probe in the UK over its Apple Store rules, CNBC, Mar 4

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