Kaspersky Lab

Logo: Kaspersky Lab // Composition: ZDNet

Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab filed today an antitrust complaint against Apple with Russian authorities in regards to the OS maker’s monopolistic grip over its official App Store.

Kaspersky claims that Apple used its power over the App Store and the entire iOS app ecosystem to force its engineers into removing two features from the Kaspersky Safe Kids iOS app –namely app control and Safari browser blocking.

The company argues that Apple did so to eliminate competition for the “Screen Time” feature that the OS maker added in iOS 12 in September last year.

Apple is sabotaging “Screen Time” competitors

In a blog post published today, Kaspersky said that other app makers like AdGuard and Kidslox also lost their abilities to restrict access to apps after interventions from Apple.

Furthermore, the Russian firm claims that Apple has embarked on what appears to be a concerted effort to crack down, remove, or reject any third-party screen time apps that may compete with built-in iOS features.

“By setting its own rules for that channel, [Apple] extends its power in the market over other, adjacent markets: for example, the parental control software market, where it has only just become a player,” Kaspersky Lab said.

“It is precisely in this extension of its leverage through possession of so-called ‘key capacity’ over other segments, leading to restriction and elimination of competition, that we see the essential elements of antitrust law violation, which consist of erecting barriers and discriminating against our software,” the antivirus maker added. “We have repeatedly tried to contact Apple to resolve this situation, but no meaningful negotiations have ensued.”

Kaspersky lodged its complaint with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS), and only in Russia, but not in the European Union.

The antivirus maker recognized Spotify’s similar effort in the EU.

Last week, the music streaming service filed a similar antitrust complaint against Apple because of its strict control over the App Store. Spotify claimed that Apple had used unfair App Store taxes to suppress the growth of Spotify and other competitors for Apple’s own music service –Apple Music.

Apple posted a blog post answering the Spotify complaint in the EU, but an Apple spokesperson did not return a request for comment in regards to Kaspersky’s complaint today.

Kaspersky took on Microsoft and won

This is not the first time that Kaspersky Lab files antitrust complaints against a Silicon Valley tech giant. The company filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in Russia and the EU in November 2016.

The antivirus maker argued that Microsoft made it unfairly difficult for antivirus providers to compete following a major Windows 10 update.

Kaspersky dropped its complaints in August 2017 after reaching a common ground with Microsoft after the Redmond-based OS maker revised its antivirus and update policies.

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