The Competition Authority in Turkey conducts the Mobile Ecosystems Sector Research on smart mobile devices and software in order to understand the structure and functioning of the relevant sector and to identify structural and/or behavioral competition problems in the sector.

The agreements Apple signed with app developers and its App Review Guidelines were examined within the framework of the Sector Inquiry in question, which raised certain questions on whether Apple imposed various restrictions on the developers on the App Store related to the payment systems.

App developers are prevented from providing in-app information to their users on payment channels outside the app, such as the website of the app developer. Thus, an examination must be conducted into whether consumers are restricted from accessing better options (at lower prices) since, due to this prohibition, they are left unaware of the existence of alternative payment channels and of the price differences that may exist within and outside the app.  At the same time, including links in the app to redirect towards alternative channels outside the app is prohibited as well. This leads to certain questions that require further examination, such as whether Apple removed app developers’ freedom of choice by making its own payment system mandatory and prevented the entry of other payment systems into the Apple ecosystem.

Another restriction imposed on app developers concerning payment services is the fact that Apple’s own payment system is mandatory for in-app purchases. Thus, transactions involving in-app digital content purchases must be made by Apple’s payment system IAP. Apple receives %30 commission fees from sales made via IAP. The investigation process needs to examine whether Apple removed app developers’ freedom of choice by mandating its own payment system and prevented the entry of other payment systems into the Apple ecosystem.

In this context, the Competition Board took the decision dated 21.05.2024, launching an investigation to determine if Apple Inc. and Apple Teknoloji ve Satış Limited Şirketi violated Article 6 of the Act no 4054 on the Protection of Competition by disallowing the use of alternative payment systems on their application store, known as App Store, and by imposing certain provisions on mobile app-developers which prevent redirections.

KaynakRekabet.gov.tr