Russia Gets Antitrust Right

Russia has not been hobbled by the counterfactual and ahistorical school of though that permeates the United States, so they are actually inclined to take action for monopolistic behavior.

I think that their experience in 1990s, when their country was pillaged by oligarchs and western financial institutions has contributed to these attitudes.

Now, they have have unloaded a well-deserved can of whup-ass on the poster child for anti-competitive behavior, Apple Computer:

Russian officials opened an antitrust investigation into Apple for restricting and removing parental control apps from its App Store shortly after the company released its own competing service, the latest sign of the growing scrutiny of Silicon Valley’s power.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service said late Thursday that it would investigate whether Apple had violated Russian competition law when it rejected a parental control app made by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company, from the iPhone App Store. The Russian agency said that after reviewing Kaspersky’s complaint, it concluded that Apple had rejected the app, which it had previously approved, and set unclear requirements for app developers.

The New York Times reported in April that shortly after Apple introduced tools to help people limit the time they and their children spent on iPhones, the company removed or restricted popular apps that offered similar services. Apple said the apps improperly used technologies that gave them too much access to users’ data.

In June, Apple reversed itself and allowed the apps to return with the same technologies, as long as they promised to not “sell, use or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose.” Many of the apps have since returned to the App Store.


Kaspersky said in a blog post that despite Apple’s policy reversal, the Silicon Valley company has still put parental control apps at a disadvantage. As part of its complaint, Kaspersky said that Apple’s rules for returning to the App Store were vague, that Apple prohibited the apps from sharing data with third-party analytics firms to improve their services and that Apple did not allow the apps to use the same technology it did to help parents control their children’s phones.


Two other developers of parental control apps, Kidslox and Qustodio, have complained to the European authorities that Apple unfairly blocked their apps. At least one American company has lodged similar complaints in conversations with Justice Department officials, according to a person close to the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were private.

This investigation is justified, Apple is an anti-competitive actor: They one of the leaders in the efforts to collude to depress Silicon Valley wages, and now they have placed an (as yet not activated) kill switch on their latest MacBooks to brick machines that are serviced by 3rd parties.

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