- After first focusing on the media, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is now taking a close look at how decisions by the major platforms are affecting the development and use of mobile applications.
- In submissions made to the ACCC, both Google and Apple claim that their app marketplaces have encouraged a vibrant, competitive app ecosystem.
- But one of their major developers, the Match Group, claims that the tech giants are making it harder to create new and innovative apps for consumers.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
The two companies who operate the worlds most popular mobile app stores have told Australia’s consumer watchdog that they face plenty of competition, despite at least one major developer saying otherwise.
Earlier this week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published submissions made for a future report investigating the competitiveness of app stores, including responses from Apple, Google and Match Group.
The submissions will inform a second interim Digital Platform Services Inquiry — which will examine how apps use and share data, competition between app providers on the app marketplaces and their relationships with customers — to be published in March 2021.
And both Apple and Google are staunchly denying aspects of their marketplace are anti-competitive, instead arguing that their app stores are lowering the barrier to entry for developers and that consumers are better off as a result.
In Apple’s submission, the tech giant argues that their App Store has created an entire industry, citing the 20 million app developers who’ve launched 1.8 million apps for its devices.
Apple devices can only use apps downloaded through their App Store. The company charges developers a fee to access the App Store, and they take a cut of all transactions that go through apps.
This was 30% across the board until Apple recently revealed their plans to drop the fee to 15% for smaller developers.
More than US$1 trillion worth of transactions went through the App Store in 2020.
“Apple’s decision to open the iPhone to third-party development in 2008 created a new and unique mobile technology environment that has resulted in an explosion in software development and has significantly benefited third-party app developers and consumers alike,” the submission reads.
Apple’s submission claims that their business competes directly with Samsung, Google, Huawei, TCL, Oppo and others.
Similarly, Google claims that their app marketplace Google Play has allowed a “surge of competition and innovation in app development and distribution space” since it launched.
Unlike Apple, Google’s Android software for mobile devices is free for any device manufacturers to use.
While Google also cuts a cut of transactions through their apps downloaded via the Google Play marketplace, devices using Google’s Android software can install applications through third-party app marketplaces or even manually.
Touting their openness, Google rejects the idea that the company’s app marketplace could be anti-competitive.
“The launch of Android, as the first truly open and comprehensive mobile platform, disrupted and opened up the stagnant mobile industry by lowering barriers to entry and expansion, and creating choice at every platform level,” their submission reads.
But at least one developer disagrees with Apple and Google’s lofty claims of open, competitive marketplaces.
The company that runs the Tinder dating app, Match Group, disputes the idea that there are any other significant mobile app marketplaces belong to companies other than Apple or Google in Australia or globally.
The Match Group submission points out a number of artificial restrictions placed by both companies on applications which they claim creates barriers to entries, such as Apple’s restriction on third party app marketplaces.
Even for Google, Match Group claims that most consumers do not use a different marketplace because of the cost of switching, learning a new system and issues with interoperability.
Concluding, Match Group argues that the sector is only becoming more concentrated.
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