Australian regulators examine Apple App Store, Google Play Store

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be examining the experiences of Australian consumers, developers, suppliers and others in a new report scrutinizing mobile app stores.

Apple App Store on Apple devices
Apple’s App Store


Issues to be examined include the use and sharing of data by apps, the extent of competition between Google and Apple’s app stores, and whether more pricing transparency is needed in Australia’s mobile apps market.

Consumers are invited to share their experiences with buying and using apps through a short survey. The ACCC has also released an issues paper seeking views and feedback from app developers and suppliers.

The work is part of a five-year ACCC inquiry which will produce reports every six months examining markets for the supply of digital platform services in Australia.

“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.”

Millions of apps are available for download by Australian consumers for use on mobile devices like phones, tablets and smart watches, and they span a wide range of functions including games, entertainment, health and fitness, education and the delivery of goods, such as food, and services, such as banking.

While there are various app stores or marketplaces, app sales are dominated by the Apple App Store, for iOS, and the Google Play Store, for Android devices.

“For app developers and suppliers, gaining a spot in one of the major app stores can result in significant sales, while failing to gain access can be a major setback. We are keen to provide greater transparency on how this process works,” Ms Rickard said.

“We are also interested in how data is used and shared in the app ecosystem, including the data available to Google and Apple as a result of their control of the major app stores.”

The survey for consumers and the issues paper are available at Digital platforms services inquiry. Submissions close on 2 October 2020. The final report will be handed down in March 2021.

MacDailyNews Take: Since Apple does not have a monopoly in any market in which they participate, there is no legal basis for antitrust action against Apple over the company’s App Store.

In the case of Apple, there is no monopoly (which is legal by the way), much less monopoly abuse (which is explicitly impossible given the nonexistence of a monopoly). You cannot abuse a monopoly when you do not have a monopoly to begin with.

Worldwide smartphone OS market share, August 2020:

• Android: 74.25%
• iOS: 25.15%

I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple is a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market… We are not a monopoly.Apple CEO Tim Cook, June 2019


    1. What if someone who does not have an auto as adequate as yours came up to your car door and said, “I demand to use your more adequate car, and I will sue you if you do not allow me to penetrate your unfair monopolistic use of it?”

  1. MDN: Be very careful in your analysis of what is considered or not considered to be a monopoly in non-U.S.A. jurisdictions. Laws vary in different countries and that’s just the way things are.

  2. I live in Australia & the ACCC is a toothless tiger. Complete morons. They go after big fish and never win. They are just trying to show the public they are “doing something” to justify their continued existence. Clearly there is no case whatsoever here.
    The are always predictably silent when it comes to things like oil companies colluding on petrol prices though….. seriously, they are an embarrassment to us here in Oz.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.