“Japan is investigating allegations that pressure from Apple forced Yahoo Japan to pull back from a game platform that competes with the App Store, Nikkei has learned, in the latest effort by regulators to address potentially anti-competitive behavior by American tech behemoths,” Yuichiro Kanematsu reports for Nikkei. “The Fair Trade Commission and the industry ministry began receiving reports from Yahoo last fall about issues surrounding its Game Plus platform. The web-based service, launched in July 2017, lets users play games without needing to download apps. For developers, the service features much looser restrictions surrounding sales, fees and software updates than Apple’s App Store.”
“A total of 52 companies agreed to participate, including famed role-playing game maker Square Enix Holdings, with more expected to get on board,” Kanematsu reports. “But Yahoo abruptly slashed its budget for Game Plus last fall and has now all but stopped promoting the service.”
“Yahoo told multiple business partners that it was forced to cut back because of pressure behind the scenes from Apple. The Japanese company relies on the U.S. tech giant for part of its profits in the form of sales through the App Store,” Kanematsu reports. “The FTC has been gathering information on the situation, which it believes may constitute interference in Yahoo’s business prohibited by the Anti-Monopoly Act. But its investigation seems to be getting bogged down… In many cases like this, businesses often hesitate to work with authorities, prioritizing their own interests instead. ‘If the parties involved don’t cooperate, it’s hard to prove” wrongdoing, said an attorney with experience at the FTC.'”
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MacDailyNews Take: Web-based apps aren’t a threat to native apps. Simply look to the iPhone;s histroy for proof. Furthermore, as Jacob Kastrenakes reports for The Verge:
Yahoo Japan is no longer related to Yahoo.. SoftBank owns very nearly half of Yahoo Japan, and this may have contributed to Game Plus’ demise. SoftBank handles payments to the App Store made by its mobile phone subscribers, taking a cut from those payments, and Nikkei reports that the company got involved with Yahoo to protect that revenue stream.