Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) fined Apple $12 million USD (roughly $14.8 million CAD) over complaints the company unfairly restricted third-party parental control apps.
The Russian antitrust regulator posted an announcement about the fine, which came after it investigated a 2019 complaint from Kaspersky Lab. The complaint accused Apple of forcing Kaspersky to limit functionality in its ‘Safe Kids’ app after Apple launched its Screen Time feature in iOS 12.
The FAS said it wants Apple to ensure its own apps don’t have an unfair advantage and that developers can build and distribute third-party apps without needing to limit functionality.
The Verge notes that Apple previously used third-party parental control apps’ use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology as justification for limiting functionality. MDM is intended for controlling company devices in enterprise and business use cases — Apple claimed using MDM for consumer apps was “incredibly risky” and could make them vulnerable to hacking.
However, Apple changed its policies following outcry from developers. Under the new policies, Apple allows the use of MDM tech for parental control apps in “limited cases.” The Verge reports that Kaspersky welcomed the changes when Apple implemented them but was also concerned it would require Apple’s written consent to use MDM in its apps.
Apple responded to the fine, saying it disagreed with the FAS and that it plans to issue an appeal. Kaspersky declined to comment on the fine.
It’s worth noting that the fine comes as E.U. regulators are expected to issue their own charges against Apple regarding a complaint from Spotify also filed in 2019. Spotify’s complaint focuses on the 30 percent cut Apple takes for in-app purchases — Spotify claims it gives Apple’s competing services an advantage.