Microsoft Exec Calls for Antitrust Scrutiny of Apple’s App Store

Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith believes antitrust regulators should fully investigate Apple’s App Store.

According to a new Bloomberg report, Smith called Thursday for greater antitrust scrutiny of the app stores run by rivals like Apple and Google, suggesting they have made it too difficult for small developers to build applications for their smartphones and other devices without agreeing to onerous rules.

“If you look at the industry today, I think what you’ll find is increasingly you’re seeing app stores that have created higher walls and far more formidable gates to access other applications than anything that existed in the industry 20 years ago,” Smith says of the App Store.

Smith didn’t name Apple directly, but said that some stores were crafting very high barriers and “increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created.”

“In some cases they create a very high price per toll — in some cases 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper,” he said, speaking at a Politico event Thursday.

Smith claims some stores are operating in far more flagrant violation of antitrust regulations than Microsoft itself had when it was found guilty of disadvantaging sellers more than 20 years ago.

His comments came two days after Europe’s Competition Commission opened dual investigations into Apple Pay and the App Store.

Apple has also come under scrutiny regarding its handling of the subscription-based emailing app Hey. Its developers tweeted that updates had been rejected multiple times, apparently because Hey wasn’t offering an in-app purchase for the full $99-a-year service.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said that the company isn’t considering any changes to the App Store rules.