ACCC Puts Apple And Google App Stores Under The Microscope

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The ACCC is continuing its probe into the tech giants, this time shifting the focus to mobile app stores.

The competition watchdog announced the latest investigation yesterday, which will come as part of its five-year investigation into digital platforms services in Australia.

It will primarily seek to investigate the extent of competition between Google and Apple’s app stores and whether more pricing transparency is needed in Australia’s mobile apps market.

“Apps have become essential tools for daily living for many Australian consumers, a trend that is likely to have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apps are, in turn, increasingly important for businesses as they promote, grow and run their enterprises,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“We want to know more about the market for mobile apps in Australia, including how transparent and effective the market is, for consumers as well as those operating in the market. We will also focus on the extent of competition between the major online app stores, and how they compete for app sales with other app providers.”

Rickard also confirmed the investigation would look at how data is used and shared in the app ecosystem and what data is made available to Apple and Google.

The Issues Paper shows the ACCC will be seeking views on whether processes put in place by app marketplaces to protect consumers from harmful apps are working and how where an app is ranked in an app marketplace is determined.

The ACCC is welcoming interested consumers and app developers to provide their views on the issues.

The latest probe is part of the ACCC’s response to last year’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.

Earlier this year it announced it would be conducting a five-year inquiry into markets for the supply of digital platforms services.

The investigation is expected to cover internet search engine services, social media services, online private messaging services, digital content aggregation platform services, media referral services and electronic marketplace services.



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