Apple is in the midst of heavy drama and backlash surrounding the App Store, fueled by its feud with Epic Games, countless investigations, and antitrust accusations. Developers and companies alike are accusing Apple’s platform of being unfair, “monopolistic,” and anti-completive.
One country in particular who has been adding fuel to the fire has been Russia. Earlier this month a Russian lawmaker introduced a bill that would force Apple to cut its App Store commission from 30 to a maximum of 20%. Russia is also probing into the App Store for anti-competitive behavior, and accusing it of misusing its market dominance for its own good.
And now, there’s more. Anton Gorelkin, a Russian lawmaker and member of the “United Russia” political party is accusing Apple of being discriminatory against Russian developers. Anton has asked Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service to investigate apparent claims from Russian developers that Apple is actively trying to make it harder for them to become developers.
According to Anton, Apple’s algorithm and process for applying to become a developer are designed to require Russians to use a “black market” to obtain an account. Anton says that Apple’s registration process requires billing information and address (which it does) but that the format that Russian banks provide it in is not a format that Apple accept. Furthermore, he says that Apple accepts popular payment methods for American or Chinese developers, but not for Russians.
“In fact, Apple is pursuing a discriminatory policy based on the citizenship of developers for a number of countries, including Russia,”
The Federal Antimonopoly Service which is leading the multiple investigations into Apple says it will look into Mr. Gorelkin’s claims, but says that contrary to what the lawmaker says, it has not received any complaints from developers. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment when approached by Kommersant.