Apple hit by complaint from Chinese developers over its App Store policies

Tim Cook China

A busy legal year for Apple Inc.

The response came after a Chinese law firm filed a complaint with regulators alleging Apple treated Chinese app developers unfairly by removing their apps from the company's iOS App Store without a good reason.

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Apple Inc. could soon be embroiled in a new legal fight in China, as a group of application developers from the country are accusing it of monopolistic behavior.

"It is banning their apps without reasonable justification and levying a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases, and never seeking a discussion with developers", Dare& Sure said in a statement. The lawsuit was filed with China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce, along with the National Development and Reform Commission, which handles antitrust matters in the world's most populous country. In the US, numerous developers have complained about the company's policies in the past.

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Although the WSJ report doesn't go into details, the case could well relate to a global crackdown on "illegitimate apps" in its App Store that Apple launched earlier this year.

But the 28 Chinese developers behind the complaint say that they did not receive sufficient explanation for app deletions and were left waiting months before getting their apps reinstated. The company also said it would continue to expand the local developer relations team in China and was working hard to offer developers better services. 9To5Mac later reported that both agencies failed to respond when asked to comment on the case. Two weeks ago, the company removed several commercial VPNs from its App Store, signalling their willingness to comply with China's increasingly strict Internet laws while simultaneously setting off criticisms that the company was assisting in the government's censorship agenda.

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