App Store on iPadSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple is one of many companies accused of anti-competitive actions against third-parties.
  • An investigation into Apple, Google, Facebook, and more is ongoing.
  • Some App Store developers have been questioned about their dealings with Apple.

Some App Store developers have been speaking with US investigators relating to possible antitrust violations by Apple, according to a new report.

The investigation is underway and is expected to come to a close this year. As part of that investigation Reuters reports that the chief executive of developer Mobicip, Suren Ramasubbu, spoke with officials in late 2019. Apple has already had its day in court over the matter.

If the name Mobicip sounds familiar, it should. It makes an app that helps parents keep tabs on how their kids use iPhones and iPads. It functions similarly to Apple's own Screen Time feature. And Apple pulled it from the App Store last year, claiming that it violated developer guidelines. As you mgiht imagine, Ramasubbu probably wasn't too complimentary about Apple when speaking with officials. He says that while his app wasn't available on the App Store for six months, the company's business was slashed in half.

Other developers have also reportedly been contacted by the investigation, too.

A source familiar with the Justice Department's investigation said a handful of app developers had been contacted in what is the first indication of what officials are pursuing involving Apple since the investigation was revealed by Reuters in June.

Apple hasn't responded to a request for comment from Reuters other than to point to its own website which states that "Since 2016, we have removed over 1.4 million apps from the App Store because they have not been updated or don't work on our most current operating systems".

And that is the crux of the matter. Officials will need to decide whether Apple should have the power to remove apps from its own App Store as and when it sees fit. Apple, obviously, believes it should.