U.S. Antitrust Regulators Investigating Apple’s App Store Fees and Policies

As part of an ongoing antitrust inquiry into Apple’s App Store policies, U.S. antitrust regulators are looking into the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from in-app subscriptions, reports Bloomberg.


Government lawyers have been meeting with developers over the course of the last several months, and in meetings as recent as last week, developers have been asked questions about Apple’s subscription rules.

Apple requires developers to use its ‌App Store‌ payment system for subscriptions, an issue that was in the spotlight recently when email app “Hey” was rejected for requiring users to purchase a subscription on its website because the app’s developers did not want to pay Apple’s subscription fees. The problem was ultimately resolved, but it led to multiple developer reports about unfair treatment from Apple.

Developers have been questioned by government officials about the ‌App Store‌ review process, and at least one developer was asked if Apple lowering its 30 percent cut would solve concerns, but the developer in question told the DoJ that the problem is not the commission, but the fact that Apple doesn’t allow for alternate payment systems.

Representative David Cicilline, Chairman of the U.S, House Subcommittee on Antitrust that’s looking into Apple’s ‌App Store‌ policies, earlier this month called Apple’s fees “highway robbery” and said that Apple’s rules are unfair to developers and hurt consumers.

The U.S. investigation into Apple’s ‌App Store‌ practices is in the early stages, according to Bloomberg, with the U.S. Justice Department focusing most of its resources on a separate investigation into Google’s dominance in digital advertising. The case against Apple has been described as “serious,” however, but the inquiry is ongoing and no decisions have been made.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the antitrust committee will generate a report with recommendations on legislative action.

Apple is also facing a European antitrust complaint over its 30 percent cut on ebooks in the ‌App Store‌, brought about by Rakuten’s Kobo subsidiary. Kobo said that Apple’s rate is anti-competitive because of Apple’s own Books service, which does not have to pay the same fee.

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Apple Highlights More Projects Designed by Swift Student Challenge Winners

Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2020 in 13 Minutes

Today’s digital WWDC keynote event was jam packed with announcements, with Apple debuting iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and, most notably, its work on custom-designed chips that will be used in Macs in the future.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For those that didn’t have a chance to watch the keynote event and don’t want to spend two hours…

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Apple Now Letting Developers Know When Customers Request In-App Refunds to Prevent Scams

Apple is introducing a new in-app purchase server notification system that lets developers know when a customer requests and receives a refund for an in-app purchase, allowing the developer to take an appropriate action, such as revoking the purchased item.


Developers are not involved in Apple’s refund process, which is handled by the company. Prior to now, when a user requested and received a refund for an in-app purchase, developers were not notified about the refund, leading to situations where customers could get a refund for a purchase and keep the in-app purchase.

It also caused issues with customer support as there was no clear communication between Apple and the developer in respect to in-app purchases.

In iOS 14, when a customer receives a refund for an in-app purchase, developers will receive a server notification and updated receipts with canceled transactions. From there, the developer can alert the customer about the refund and take the appropriate steps to remove the content.

Apple says that these changes will give developers more control over customer interactions, making gameplay more fair for all players and protecting the app’s economy. Apple believes the notification system will also make it clear to players who have used refunds in this way that there are repercussions for refunds and that items won’t be able to be kept.

Apple’s refund notification system is live for developers as of today, and more details can be found in Apple’s “What’s new with in-app purchases” session that’s available on the Apple Developer website.

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Apple Revamps App Store Connect With Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Interface

Apple’s Path to Arm-Based Macs Could Start With a New 12-Inch MacBook

Fudge, a leaker who goes by @choco_bit on Twitter, often shares details on upcoming Apple products. With Apple’s Arm-based Macs that use custom-made chips on the horizon, Fudge today shared some of his thoughts on how, why, and when Apple will roll out Arm-based Macs, including some speculation on how apps, Boot Camp, and other features might be impacted.
Apple has been following a…

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Apple Launches Open Source Project to Let Password Management Apps Create Strong Passwords

Apple today informed developers that it has launched a new open source project that’s designed to let those who develop password management apps create strong passwords compatible with popular websites.


The new Password Manager Resources open source project allows password management apps to integrate website-specific requirements used by the iCloud Keychain password manager to generate strong, unique passwords.

Many password managers generate strong, unique passwords for people, so that they aren’t tempted to create their own passwords by hand, which leads to easily guessed and reused passwords. Every time a password manager generates a password that isn’t actually compatible with a website, a person not only has a bad experience, but a reason to be tempted to create their own password. Compiling password rule quirks helps fewer people run into issues like these while also documenting that a service’s password policy is too restrictive for people using password managers, which may incentivize the services to change.

The project also features a collection of websites known to share a sign-in system, links to website pages where users can change passwords, and more, with full details available on GitHub.

Apple says that having password managers collaborate on resources like password rules and change password URLs allows all password management apps to improve their quality with less work, plus it encourages websites to use standards or emerging standards to improve their compatibility with password managers.

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Ahead of WWDC, Apple Invites Some Developers to Attend Virtual Accessibility Session

Apple is inviting some developers to a special Accessibility session designed to teach them how iOS apps can take advantage of accessibility features built into the operating system, according to an email shared by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.


The event, set to be held on April 23, will be an online session that takes place live, with developers able to ask questions and sign up for individual consultations. This is the first time Apple has held an online event where developers are able to interact with engineers.

It appears that Apple may be using the session as a test run for WWDC, which is set to be a digital-only event this year. Apple plans to offer an online keynote and online sessions, which will likely be similar to the Accessibility session.


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Apple Shares Updated Human Interface Guidelines for HealthKit, Now Lets Developers Use Apple Health Icon

Apple today informed developers that it has released updated Human Interface Guidelines for HealthKit, providing new guidance on using the Apple Health app icon, additional guidance on using Apple Health-related terms, and new privacy and data usage guidelines.


HealthKit is the SDK that allows developers to create integrations with the Apple Health app for health and fitness-focused apps, allowing data collected by the app to show up in the Health app, where it can be aggregated with health data from other apps. Apps are also allowed to access relevant data from the Health app.

The new guidelines for developers who use HealthKit can be found on Apple’s developer website. Developers who use HealthKit are required to provide a coherent privacy policy, request access to health data only when needed, and provide descriptive messages when asking for permission to access health data.

Developers are now able to use the Apple Health icon to promote their apps, and unsurprisingly, Apple has a list of specific guidelines for developers who want to use the icon.

Only the Apple-provided guideline can be used, no alterations are allowed, the name Apple Health must be close to the icon, and the icon can’t be used as a button. HealthKit integrations should be referred to Apple Health with no outward mention of the HealthKit APIs.

Apple has also created a “Works with Apple Health” badge to allow developers to promote HealthKit-enabled apps on websites.

Apple’s complete Human Interface Guidelines for HealthKit can be found on the developer website.

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