Apple, Google to Face Antitrust Probes in Japan Over Smartphone Market Dominance: Nikkei

Apple faces yet another antitrust probe into its iOS operating system on devices like the iPhone 13, this time in Japan.

Nikkei reports that Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), which had previously found Apple’s App Store to be anticompetitive, is now studying whether Apple and Google are abusing their mobile duopoly by “eliminating competition and severely limiting options for consumers.”

The investigation will extend to smartphones and wearables, too, a market in which only Apple is dominant.

The FTC is set to compile a report as to why competition in the OS market remains static, including itemized anticompetitive behavior and any possible breaches of Japan’s anti-monopoly laws. According to the report, iOS commands a 70 percent share of the smartphone market in Japan, with Google and Android taking the other 30 percent.

“The antitrust watchdog will compile a report outlining OS market structure and the reason why competition has remained static,” reads the report. “The commission will work with the central government’s Digital Market Competition Council, which is moving forward with its own market probe. Practices found to be anticompetitive will be itemized in the report, along with possible violations of Japan’s law against monopolies.”

The FTC had previously investigated Apple’s App Store and found that it was anti-competitive for Apple to force developers to pay its in-app purchase fees. Apple settled that case and announced that it would allow developers of so-called “reader apps” to not pay these fees. But the settlement left out most of the impacted apps, like those that deliver game subscription content.

Unsurprisingly, Japan is not the only country where such concerns have been raised over both Apple’s and Google’s dominance — the companies are already facing antitrust investigations in multiple regions.

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