Apple accused of antitrust practices in denying some COVID-19 related apps on app stores

Another day, another lawsuit. Or at least an antitrust complaint. Florian Mueller —  a German app developer, lobbyist, and blogger — has filed a complaint with European Union antitrust authorities against Apple and Google after they rejected a game aimed at encouraging compliance with government COVID-19 rule, reports Reuters.

He’s filed a similar complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and antitrust watchdogs in Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and Australia. Fueller is also planning to file another in India next week.

According to Reuters, he says the app rules set by Apple and Google are holding back innovation, in breach of EU regulation, after both companies rejected his Corona Control Game app in November. His complaint said the rules in place by Google and Apple were denying small app developers market opportunities and hampering them by unreasonably slowing down and complicating the delivery of pre-release app versions to testers.

Apple has said it won’t allow any COVID-19 apps on the App Store unless they are officially-approved ones from governments and health authorities.

Interestingly, Mueller said that after modifying his app and renaming it Viral Days so that it was not specifically concerning coronavirus, he last month got approval from Apple and Google.

On January 20, as noted by AppleInsider, Apple was sued for allegedly rejecting a coronavirus contact tracing app to maintain a monopoly in COVID-19 exposure notification.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the New Hampshire District and involves a smartphone application called “Coronavirus Reporter” that was denied entry to the App Store in March 2020. Coronavirus Reporter, the lawsuit claims, was developed by a team of healthcare and computer science experts in February 2020 to “capture and obtain critical biostatistical and epidemiological data as it happened.”

The developers say Apple’s actions constitute violations of the anti-monopoly Sherman Act. They want an enjoinment on the alleged anti-competitive behavior; damages in excess of US$75,000; and a permanent injunction restraining Apple’s ability from “restricting reasonable applications.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.