Russia investigates Apple over Kaspersky kids app block

BACK IN APRIL, Apple was in hot water over claims it was taking a strange new interest in rivals’ kid protection apps after its own Screen Time …

BACK IN APRIL, Apple was in hot water over claims it was taking a strange new interest in rivals’ kid protection apps after its own Screen Time software launched on iPhone. Apple initially denied that it was hobbling others to promote its own app, but eventually softened its absolute ban on Mobile Device Management (MDM) being used in parental-control apps. It was still frowned upon, but accepted in some circumstances.

That, it turns out, isn’t the end of the story. While previously Apple was just dealing with some ticked off app developers, now it has Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog – the FAS – on its tail.

The FAS says it is looking into why the latest version of Kaspersky Lab’s Safe Kids app has been blocked from the App Store, noting that version 12 of Screen Time seems to offer plenty of feature overlap with Kaspersky’s product.

For its part, Kaspersky noted that the official guidelines allow limited use of MDM, but couldn’t find a way to get the go-ahead from Apple’s app guardians.

When Reutersapproached Apple for comment, the company pointed the news agency back to its statement from April. The one that says certain apps were removed because “they put users’ privacy and security at risk.”

At the end of that post, it’s worth remembering that Apple categorically denied the removal of apps had anything to do with them sharing functionality with home-grown products. “In this app category, and in every category, we are committed to providing a competitive, innovative app ecosystem,” the statement read.

“There are many tremendously successful apps that offer functions and services similar to Apple’s in categories like messaging, maps, email, music, web browsers, photos, note-taking apps, contact managers and payment systems, just to name a few. We are committed to offering a place for these apps to thrive as they improve the user experience for everyone.”

We’ll have to wait and see as to whether the FSA reaches the same conclusion. ยต

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