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Russia Fines Apple $12M for Blocking Third Party Apps

Apple rejected a Kaspersky app update over claims it used "highly intrusive" technology. Pixabay

Russia’s antitrust authority has fined Apple $12 million over a case first brought against the Silicon Valley giant by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

“Apple was found to have abused its dominant position in the distribution of mobile applications on the iOS operating system through a series of actions that led to a competitive advantage for its own products, and at the same time worsened the distribution conditions for competing products,” Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) said in a statement Tuesday.

The fine of 906 million rubles ($12.1 million) relates to a previous FAS ruling that Apple had wrongfully blocked Kaspersky from launching an update to its Safe Kids parental control app, while Apple simultaneously launched Screen Time, a feature offering a similar service to Kaspersky.

Apple has rejected the accusations. When the case was first launched in 2019, the technology giant said it had removed a number of parental control apps from the App Store because they “put users’ privacy and security at risk,” through the use of “highly invasive” technology.

In addition to the fine, the FAS also ordered Apple to remove terms and conditions that give the company the right to “reject third-party applications from the App Store for any reason, even if they meet all requirements”, and required Apple to ensure “in-house apps do not take precedence over third-party apps.”

Apple said it would continue to appeal the decision. The FAS said execution of its orders had been suspended due to the ongoing appeal. 

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