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Japan FTC to end probe into Apple over app fees

  • September 2, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 3:30 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Sept. 2 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Fair Trade Commission said Thursday that it will end its investigation into Apple Inc. over the U.S. technology giant’s suspected violation of the antimonopoly law over app distribution fees.

 

The FTC said the probe into 15-30 pct commissions imposed by Apple on app developers was launched in October 2016.

 

Apple told the antimonopoly watchdog that it will allow app developers to provide their services effectively without paying commissions, according to the FTC. The FTC will close the investigation after confirming a review to be made by Apple to its related guidelines.

 

Apple has been under investigation by European and U.S. antimonopoly authorities over the commissions.

 

According to the FTC, it is the first time that Apple has changed its rules on commissions for in-app purchases in response to a request by a government agency.

 

The planned revision to the guidelines will apply globally. The development is likely to affect policies by many other countries over technology giants, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.com, known collectively as GAFA, industry sources said.

 

Apple said Wednesday that it will revise its guidelines on “reader” apps and allow app developers to provide customers with their web links embedded in their apps to give payment alternatives.

 

According to Japan’s industry ministry, the country’s markets for music streaming, electronic book and video streaming service are estimated at 78.3 billion yen, 456.9 billion yen and 320 billion yen, respectively.

 

Developers of such services currently need to pay massive commissions to Apple, as well as copyright fees, which are believed to exceed 60 pct of sale prices.

 

The measure to be taken by Apple is very different from its past policy, Tetsuya Fujimoto, head of the FTC’s Investigation Bureau, told a press conference Thursday. “The step could help lower digital content prices and give benefits to consumers,” he added.

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