On March 19, Kaspersky Lab filed a complaint against Apple Inc. with the Federal Antimonopoly Service [of Russia]. Our claim pertains to Apple’s policy on apps distributed through the App Store. Despite a long history of working successfully with Apple, we believe that this is a necessary step.
Last year, we received a notice from Apple saying that our Kaspersky Safe Kids for iOS app does not meet the requirements of paragraph 2.5.1 of the guidelines for apps hosted in the App Store. Apple had never before had any issues with Kaspersky Safe Kids; the app had been hosted in the App Store, meeting all of the guidelines, for nearly three years.
It turned out that, according to Apple, the use of configuration profiles was against App Store policy, and Apple demanded that these be removed, so that the app could pass the review and be published in the store. For us, that would mean removing two key features from Kaspersky Safe Kids: app control and Safari browser blocking.
Both features are essential. The first allows parents to specify which apps kids cannot run based on the App Store’s age restrictions. The second allows the hiding of all browsers on the device, so kids can open Web pages only in Kaspersky Safe Kids’ built-in secure browser, which protects them from unsafe content.
So, by removing these two features from Kaspersky Safe Kids for iOS, we are massively letting down parents, who expect that their kids will be able to safely use iPhones and iPads that have our app installed. We believe it is essential that all of our customers, whether they are young or old, are completely safe and get exactly what they expect.
The change in Apple’s policy toward our app (as well as toward every other developer of parental control software), notably came on the heels of the Cupertino-based company announcing its own Screen Time feature as part of iOS 12. This feature allows users to monitor the amount of time they spend using certain apps or on certain websites, and set time restrictions. It is essentially Apple’s own app for parental control.
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. 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.
The blog post continues here.
MacDailyNews Take: Operative term: “Apple’s.” Possessive.
It’s Apple’s App Store and Apple’s platform, so Apple gets to set the policies.
Furthermore, Apple’s share of the worldwide mobile operating system market cannot constitute a monopoly by any stretch of the imagination. As of February 2019, according to StatCounter:
Mobile Operating System Market Share Worldwide
• Apple’s iOS: 23.28%
• Android: 74.15%
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