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Russia Warns Apple Over 'Abuse' Of Dominant Position In Market

People pass an Apple store in central Moscow.
People pass an Apple store in central Moscow.

Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) has warned Apple over what it called the U.S. technology giant's "abuse of its dominant position" in the distribution of apps.

The FAS said on August 30 that it expected Apple "to eliminate" the violations by September 30.

According to the FAS, it received complaints from users of iOS, a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple exclusively for its hardware, and application developers about Apple's monopoly.

Namely, the watchdog says, Apple gets a 15 to 30 percent commission for each payment in the App Store, while users are blocked from being informed about the possibility of purchases out of the App Store for cheaper prices.

"Apple does not allow applications with such characteristics in the App Store, requiring developers to remove links or change the functionality of the application so that the registration form does not lead to external sites," the FAS said.

"By these actions, Apple restricts developers in independent behavior, which negatively affects competition and may lead to an increase in prices for developers' products," it added.

The FAS also said the App Store's guidelines that are mandatory for iOS app developers to comply with prohibits notifying app users of an alternative method of payment for an item.

In April, the FAS fined Apple $12 million for its "dominant market position" by giving preference to its own applications.

The same month, Moscow enforced controversial legislation demanding that smartphones, tablets, and computers sold in the country come with preinstalled domestic software and apps in what was described by the authorities as an effort to promote Russia's tech companies.

However, critics say the measure, which requires all devices with Internet access sold in the country to have preinstalled approved software produced by Russian companies, is the latest attempt to tighten state control over the Internet.

Western technology firms have been facing increasing scrutiny in Russia in recent months under the pretext of fighting extremism and protecting minors.

Russia in 2019 passed legislation on the development of a "sovereign internet" network that would cut off country's access to the worldwide web, a move critics say is meant to muzzle free speech.

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