Kaspersky Lab Hits Apple With App Store Antitrust Complaint In Russia

Apple Store
Security firm Kaspersky Lab has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in Russia over recent restrictions placed on the company's Kaspersky Safe Kids app for iOS. According to Kaspersky, Apple only decided to place additional restrictions on the app after announcing its own Screen Time feature as part of iOS 12, essentially putting it in competition with third-party parental control software.

In a blog post on the subject, Kaspersky Lab says Apple had no issue with its app for the past three years. Now, however, Apple has blocked the app because it does not meet the requirements of paragraph 2.5.1 of the guidelines for apps hosted in the App Store.

"It turned out that, according to Apple, the use of configuration profiles was against App Store policy, and Apple demanded that these be removed, so that the app could pass the review and be published in the store. For us, that would mean removing two key features from Kaspersky Safe Kids: app control and Safari browser blocking," Kaspersky Labs says.

Kaspersky Lab contends that it would be "massively letting down parents" if it complied with Apple's requirements and removed those specific features. However, Kaspersky Labs alludes to a conflict of interest by Apple as store owner and competitor, as the bigger issue at play.

"Apple appears to be using its position as platform owner and supervisor of the sole channel for delivering apps to users of the platform to dictate terms and prevent other developers from operating on equal terms with it. As a result of the new rules, developers of parental control apps may lose some of their users and experience financial impact," Kaspersky Lab adds.

Kaspersky Lab says it is not the only one affected by this. The company referenced Spotify's recent antitrust complaint filed against Apple with the European Commission, and said the grudges are similar in nature—both Kaspersky Lab and Spotify believe Apple is giving itself an unfair advantage.

Incidentally, Kaspersky Lab is no stranger to antitrust complaints with large corporations. In 2017, the antivirus outfit filed a complaint against Microsoft in Europe over the way Windows 10 handled third-party AV software. Microsoft relented on some of its policies, and Kaspersky Labs ended up withdrawing its complaint as a result.

Kaspersky Lab is hoping for a similar outcome with Apple.

"We very much hope that we will also be able to continue our winning relationship with Apple, and that requires us to create an environment where Kaspersky Lab and other companies compete on equal footing," Kaspersky Labs says.