Japan Opens New Apple Antitrust Probe

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission will investigate whether Apple is leveraging their dominance in the smartphone operating system market to eliminate competition and severely limit options for consumers, reported Nikkei.

The study will involve interviews and surveys with OS operators, app developers and smartphone users, commission Secretary-General Shuichi Sugahisa told reporters Wednesday. The initiative will explore market conditions not only for smartphones, but for smartwatches and other wearables.

The antitrust watchdog will compile a report outlining OS market structure and the reason why competition has remained static. The commission will work with the central government’s Digital Market Competition Council, which is moving forward with its own market probe.

Practices found to be anticompetitive will be itemized in the report, along with possible violations of Japan’s law against monopolies.

In February, the government implemented the Act on Improving Transparency and Fairness of Digital Platforms. If officials decide that the law applies to the OS market, OS operators will be told to submit regular reports on transactions to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In Japan, Apple’s iOS commands a nearly 70% share among smartphone operating systems while Android’s share stands at 30%. Any developer of apps — whether they specialize in music, streaming videos, e-books or mobile games — need to match the software with specifications of the operating systems if they want to appear on smartphones.

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