Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab today announced in a blog post that it has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service. This comes less than a week after Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission and called Apple a “monopolist.”
Kaspersky argues that Apple uses its “position as platform owner and supervisor” of the App Store to prevent other developers from operating on equal terms as itself. Specifically, Kaspersky’s argument relates to iOS 12’s Screen Time feature.
The cybersecurity firm says that last year, Apple cracked down on its Kaspersky Safe Kids app, which used configuration profiles to help parents monitor what their kids were doing on their iOS devices:
It turned out that, according to Apple, the use of configuration profiles was against App Store policy, and Apple demanded that these be removed, so that the app could pass the review and be published in the store. For us, that would mean removing two key features from Kaspersky Safe Kids: app control and Safari browser blocking.
These two features, Kaspersky argues, “are essential” to the Safe Kids app. The firm also doesn’t think it was merely a coincidence that Apple cracked down on the Safe Kids app shortly after it introduced Screen Time as a first-party way to monitor app usage.
The change in Apple’s policy toward our app (as well as toward every other developer of parental control software), notably came on the heels of the Cupertino-based company announcing its own Screen Time feature as part of iOS 12.
This feature allows users to monitor the amount of time they spend using certain apps or on certain websites, and set time restrictions. It is essentially Apple’s own app for parental control.
Furthermore, Kaspersky notes that it is not the only parental control app facing stricter review following the launch of Screen Time. We reported in December that Apple was cracking down on third-party screen time applications, and that crackdown is what Kaspersky is now taking issue with.
Kaspersky says that this crackdown will turn the market of parental control apps into a monopoly and in turn result in stagnation.
Ultimately, Kaspersky hopes that it will be able to continue its “winning relationship with Apple,” but on “equal footing.” The cybersecurity firm hopes that its initiative with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service will “benefit the market at large” and require Apple to “provide competitive terms to third-party developers.”
Read the full blog post here.
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