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Kaspersky Lab files antitrust complaint over iOS Screen Time

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Apple said app was in violation of App Store policies

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The cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has filed an antitrust complaint after Apple told the firm its screen time management app was in violation of App Store policies. In a blog post that was first spotted by 9to5Mac, Kaspersky Lab claims that Apple only raised an objection to Kaspersky’s Safe Kids app after the launch of iOS 12’s Screen Time feature, which offers similar functionality to the Kaspersky software. Apple later banned the app, causing Kaspersky to file its complaint with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service

The claim comes hot on the heels of a similar complaint made by Spotify, which alleges that the App Store’s so-called Apple tax — 30 percent of any transactions — gives the company’s own services (in this case, Apple Music) an unfair advantage over its competitors. Apple quickly hit back at the complaint, saying that the 30 percent cut drops to 15 percent after the first year of a subscription and that its ecosystem provides an essential service to Spotify.

Kaspersky Lab and Spotify’s claims share some similarities, but there are also crucial differences. The biggest is that Apple doesn’t provide an app that competes with the functionality offered by Kaspersky Safe Kids. Instead, Kaspersky’s competitor is the iOS operating system, which has Apple’s Screen Time feature built in as of iOS 12.

The two complaints come as the idea of breaking up big tech companies is becoming a more mainstream position. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who’s running for president in 2020, has also raised issues about the way Apple both operates and competes within its App Store, and she has called for the company to be broken up. Warren has also proposed breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook.