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VOL. 44 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 25, 2020

Apple's smaller rivals unite to fight iPhone app store rules

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Spotify and the makers of Fortnite and Tinder are taking on Apple and Google as part of a newly formed coalition calling for "fair treatment" in the way the tech giant runs its app store.

The Coalition for App Fairness, a Washington-based nonprofit, launched Thursday and will advocate for legal and regulatory changes, such as measures that could block Apple and Google from favoring their own apps in the iPhone and Android operating systems they control. The activism from smaller rivals adds to scrutiny the tech giants are facing from U.S. and European regulators and lawmakers.

The group aims to be the "voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all," said a statement from Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs and chief legal officer for music-streaming pioneer Spotify.

Apple is the group's main target, though Google's app store policies are also on its radar. Both companies this summer dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game's developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.

Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases, which has long been a sore spot with developers.

Fortnite's developer, Epic Games, responded by suing the companies over what it sees as anti-competitive behavior. Epic is backing the new coalition along with Spotify, online dating app maker Match Group, and other members including Tile, Basecamp, ProtonMail and European media industry associations.

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