Apple App Store investigation by UK's competition watchdog extended by months

App Store on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

The United Kingdom's investigation into the way Apple runs the iPhone and iPad App Store has been extended. The deadline for the investigation has now been pushed to May 2023.

The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking into whether the App Store is a fair way for developers to make apps available for download on Apple's devices. The 30% cut that Apple takes from transactions is one key point of discussion, as is Apple's requirement that developers use the App Store's payment systems rather than third-party ones.

"The CMA is investigating Apple’s conduct in relation to the distribution of apps on iOS and iPadOS devices in the U.K., in particular, the terms and conditions governing app developers’ access to Apple’s App Store," CMA outlines.

App Store arguments

Now, the CMA says that it intends to take a little longer to get to the bottom of things, making a change to the investigation's timetable and saying "further CMA analysis and review [is] extended from January 2023 to May 2023." Apple Insider first reported on the new timetable.

Apple's stance on the App Store has long been a bone of contention not only for developers but for governments as well. A case in the Netherlands saw Apple forced to allow some apps to accept payments outside of the App Store, but only after the company was fined more than $52 million for non-compliance.

Apple, for its part, believes that it has done nothing wrong and says that the 30% cut it takes from App Store payments is its fee for keeping the system running. That famously caused Epic Games to bypass Apple's in-app payment system and use its own — only to be kicked out of the App Store entirely, seemingly never to return.

The App Store is a constant through Apple's products, whether that's an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or an Apple Watch. You could buy the best iPhone money can buy, but you'll still have to use the App Store to get apps, like everyone else.

Could the CMA's investigation one day change all that?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.