Telegram complains to the EU about ‘unfair trading practices’ from Apple’s App Store

Messaging service Telegram has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union about the unfair trading practices that Apple allegedly conducts at the App Store. Users should have the right to install applications outside the App Store, says Telegram.

The antitrust complaint, according to the Financial Times, states that Apple has a monopoly position with the App Store and that the 30 percent rate that developers have to give up in-app revenue is unreasonable. For example, according to Telegram, Apple states that it needs this income to keep the app store running, but Telegram disputes this claim.

In addition, the messaging service wanted to distribute a gaming platform via the App Store in 2016, which was stopped by Apple. The platform would violate Apple’s App Store rules. Telegram says the messaging service was at risk of being removed from the App Store, prompting the company to discontinue plans for the gaming platform. This, according to Telegram, is an example of how Apple can abuse its power to counter innovation.

Telegram confirms to TechCrunch that it has filed the antitrust complaint and the spokesman refers to a message that co-founder Pavel Durov published earlier this week. Durov writes in this post about seven “myths” that Apple would put forward to justify the use of the 30 percent. For example, Durov states that Apple gets “billions of dollars” in revenue every quarter through its share of in-app revenues. Telegram states that hosting and reviewing the apps costs “tens of millions” of dollars, not billions.

Durov also says that it is “impossible” to establish a competitor for Apple, because developers will not build apps for a new mobile operating system that has few users. For this, Durov refers to the Windows 10 Mobile ecosystem. “Even Microsoft, with its great influence with developers, was unable to get apps like Instagram developed for the platform.” In addition, a developer cannot just develop an app for Android and ignore Apple, because an Androidonlyapp could not become popular enough, according to Durov.

According to the FT, Telegram’s complaint is the third antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store. Spotify previously sent such a complaint. The second company was the Japanese Rakuten. Both companies complained about the monopoly position of the Apple App Store and the 30 percent commission that Apple is asking. In June it was announced that the European Commission has started an abuse of power investigation into Apple, partly because of the App Store. Yesterday, the CEO of Apple, along with the CEOs of Google, Amazon and Facebook, testified in a hearing in the US House of Representatives in the context of monopoly abuse. Here, according to the FT, Apple CEO Cook defended Apple’s business practices and said that competition is a great asset that fosters innovation.

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