Kaspersky Lab files antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store in Russia

Via the official Kaspersky blog:

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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  1. That Kaspersky, which makes good software, feels the need to pull in the irrelevant idea that it’s on the vanguard as a protector of all developers of parental controls to bolster its case could work but it’s a logical fallacy. So, that it says that it’s under threat by Apple’s own parental control initiative, raises suspicion as to its true motivation.

    Perhaps Kaspersky should temporarily rename itself as the “Kaspersky Benevolency Lab” to further help its case. But, because Kaspersky is Putin’s friend, it has a higher chance win in a Russian court of law, so no name change needed.

  2. This is the problem everyone is looking for a piece of Apple, big company = big target

    Everyone is trying to jump on the Spotify bandwagon.

    I’m sure I can lodge a complaint against them and the courts will find in my favor our

  3. Come on, folks. Configuration profiles are a standard part of iOS, and this kind of things is EXACTLY what they’re designed for. As someone who’s worked with iOS and Mac security for quite a while now, I think that this kind of usage – parental controls to a finer detail than iOS currently provides – added to the “we were here first, and we’re still better” perfectly valid claim of Kaspersky certainly deserves a waiver from Apple in this case.

    Yes, Apple has a right to set the rules. They also have a moral responsibility to enforce those rules in a reasonable fashion, and from what I’ve read they’re not doing that in this case.

  4. Cant see any great problem with the first issue but effectively closing off Safari in preference to its own browser on an Apple device seems far from acceptable to me, it looks more like a take over and an attempt at preventing competition so with Apple on that one, especially as Kaspersky has a very doubtful reputation in preserving peoples rights and privacy.

  5. It sounds like Apple, the self-proclaimed standard bearer for privacy, is saying Kaspersky Safe Kids which gives parents even finer privacy controls than base iOS needs to become less useful to comply with Apple App store policy.

    As may have been mentioned in the past, unless Apple has changed browser policy, all iOS browser apps (Apple’s and 3rd partiy) must use the same Webkit engine. It could be that Apple may have been gathering user usage data from Safari (for its own use and aggregated of course /s) and may resent having that data for kids taken away from them by the App.

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