Apple seems to be swamped with legal battles recently. The company is currently fighting Epic Games regarding its App Store policies, the European Commission about tax backlogs, as well as accepting settlement claims from consumers concerning the iPhone throttling lawsuit.
In the latest addition to this list, Apple finds itself in the midst of being accused by a Russian antitrust authority for monopolistic practices with iOS 12.
The Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) Russia had been investigating claims made by Kaspersky Lab about Apple cutting off access to certain developer APIs and hosting ambiguous documentation with the release of iOS 12 - which contained Screen Time - back in 2018. This led to numerous applications, including Kaspersky's parental control app, losing critical functionality, while Apple's own Screen Time application continued to use iOS capabilities not available to third-party developers.
After an investigation carried out by FAS Russia, the authority has found Apple guilty of abusing its position in the market. A statement (translated) from FAS Russia states:
"The company's documents, which are guided by the developers, contain ambiguous provisions, as well as provisions on the basis of which Apple may reject (prevent) any third-party application from its App Store, even if it meets all the company's requirements.
After conducting a thorough investigation of the documentation and technological features of iOS and applications, evaluating Apple's actions, the FAS Russia Commission came to the conclusion that the company had abused its dominant position in the market for distributing mobile applications on the iOS operating system."
Moving forward, FAS Russia has issued a corrective order, which demands that Apple remove ambiguity from its documentation which currently gives it the rights to reject or deny applications for any reason, even if they meet all requirements. Furthermore, it has also ordered the Cupertino giant to ensure that its own apps do not take precedence over third-party apps and that developers can continue to make parental control apps and distribute them in the App Store without Apple blocking important functionality.
Apple has until November 30, 2020 to comply with the order. It will also have to inform FAS Russia of the changes it makes within five days of their implementation.