Chinese law firm files complaint against Apple for breaching antitrust laws

Services brought in US$7.3bil in revenue for Apple in the three months through July 1. — Reuters

Services brought in US$7.3bil in revenue for Apple in the three months through July 1. — Reuters

A busy legal year for Apple Inc.

The case is the first time that Apple has been accused of monopolistic and anticompetitive behaviors in China, its biggest source of app revenue.

APPLE is the subject of a complaint filed by a Chinese law firm on behalf of 28 local developers on the basis that they company has breached antitrust regulations through the application of excessively expensive fees and the removal of certain apps from its local store without sufficient justification.

Apple started a worldwide crackdown on what it sees as illegitimate apps earlier this year, and removed 58,000 Chinese apps in one swoop in June, according to tech research firm ASO 100.

Apple actually books more profits in the Chinese version of its App Store than in any other country, despite oppressive censorship guidelines that regularly result in rejecting and banning apps from the marketplace. In the US, numerous developers have complained about the company's policies in the past.

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Apple is stepping up efforts to boost revenue from services, after a continuing decline in its smartphone sales in the country.

Last month, Apple removed virtual private network apps, or VPNs, from its Chinese App Store that allowed users to access websites blocked by government censors.

Apple said, in a reply to China Daily, more than 1.8 million people work on its App Store ecosystem in China, and the company invests a tremendous amount of resources providing advice and training for entrepreneurial developers. The company also said it would continue to expand the local developer relations team in China and was working hard to offer developers better services.

Li Yi, chief researcher at the internet research center of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said app store revenue is of increasing importance to Apple.

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