What you need to know
- Apple and Google are being threatened with antitrust regulation in Australia.
- New findings from the ACCC say app developers should be allowed to offer alternative methods of payment.
- It also says users should have more options over pre-installed and default apps.
A new report from Australian competition authorities has warned Apple it could face regulation over antitrust issues if it doesn't take action to alleviate concerns around its App Store.
Australia's competition watchdog said on Wednesday regulation may be required to address the significant market power app stores owned by Alphabet's Google and Apple have if they do not take steps to assuage concerns.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in a digital platforms services inquiry interim report, said app developers should be allowed to provide customers with alternative payment options, and data collected by Google and Apple should be kept separate from their other operations.
The report also says that consumers should be allowed to change or remove pre-installed or default apps. The group's Chair Rod Sims said "We have identified a number of areas where action is required and have put forward potential measures to address areas of particular concern... There is a window of opportunity for Apple and Google themselves to take steps to improve outcomes for app developers and consumers."
The news comes on the eve of Apple's antitrust trial with Epic Games over the very issue of alternative payment methods available to developers, or lack thereof in Apple's current App Store ecosystem. The ACCC says it will look at changes of laws in other countries, so will likely be keeping a close eye on the trial. As noted it left the door open for Apple and Google to make the first move, but said regulation could be required if they don't take the leap.