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Apple Faces Antitrust Scrutiny in Japan, Potential Heavy Fines Looming

Apple is under antitrust scrutiny in Japan and could face hefty fines, according to Nikkei Asia. The move comes after the company was forced to open up its App Store to third-party app stores in the European Union.

Japan is reportedly planning to significantly increase fines for large companies engaged in anticompetitive practices. The current law in Japan caps the maximum penalty at 6% of the offending company’s turnover, but policymakers are looking to raise that figure to 20%, according to Nikkei Asia, and to 30% for repeat offenders.

Japan warned Apple in December 2023 of its plans to toughen antitrust rules, and the App Store is believed to be a major concern. Japan is likely to follow the EU’s lead and require Apple to open up its platform to third-party app stores and alternative payment systems. Currently, all subscriptions and paid apps on the App Store must use Apple’s proprietary payment gateway, which charges developers a commission of up to 30%.

If other countries around the world follow the EU and Japan’s lead, the iPhone maker will be forced to open up its walled garden a bit, as it would be very difficult to offer different versions for each market.

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