Japan’s Antitrust Regulator ‘Ready’ to Take on Apple

Japan's Antitrust Regulator Taking on Apple

Antitrust scrutiny is nothing new to Apple. The tech giant is facing complaints and investigations around the world. The U.S. and UK are looking heavily into Cupertino’s practices. So are France, Germany, South Korea, and Australia. Now, the head of Japan’s antitrust regulator says the country is joining the battle.

Japan’s Antitrust Watchdog Taking on Big Tech

According to a report by Reuters, Japan is about to join forces with the U.S. and Europe to tackle alleged market abuses by the four Big Tech companies. These companies include Google, Samsung, Facebook, and, of course, Apple. Taken together, regulators refer to the four as GAFA.

Kazuyuki Furuya is the chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC). This organization, Japan’s antitrust regulator, is joining up with other companies to prevent antitrust activities around the world. These can include mergers or other business tie-ups. Furuya told Reuters:

If the size of any merger or business-tie up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer’s process of acquiring a start-up (like Fitbit). We’re closely watching developments including in Europe.

Is Apple’s App Store a Monopoly?

Developers have been getting more vocal in criticizing App Store policies, prompting antitrust regulators to add the Cupertino tech giant to its list of most-watched companies.

For example, developers claim that the App Store’s “stranglehold” is becoming stronger than ever. When Apple demanded ProtonMail use In-App Purchases, even though the app was originally approved without them, the developer spoke up. ProtonMail even likened the move to “Mafia extortion.”

When Cupertino demanded IAPs, ProtonMail emailed its customers telling them about the change. Apple responded by threatening to remove the app and block updates.

Fortnite from Epic Games

Also, let’s not forget Epic Games’ struggle with Apple. Epic’s flagship game, Fortnite, is still missing from the App Store because of ongoing disputes over Cupertino’s demand that all purchases and other payments use IAPs.

Regulators Scrutinizing Apple

For these, and other reasons, many countries are closely watching Apple. Japan’s antitrust regulator is just the latest to join in the battle.

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