Kaspersky Lab takes bite out of Apple in Russia over borked parental controls app

Store policy removed key features, alleges complaint

Antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab has lodged a complaint about Apple with the Russian competition authority.

It follows Apple's rejection of Kaspersky's Safe Kids app because of two features the latter regards as essential.

"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," the Moscow-based company explained on its blog.

Apple has included parental controls in iOS for some time, and expanded on these in iOS 12.

"Parents can access their child's Activity Report right from their own iOS devices to understand where their child spends their time and can manage and set App Limits for them," Apple explained when it introduced the features.

So it's really a very familiar story – a platform folding in features sold by third-party ISVs. Similar complaints dogged Microsoft as it incorporated features like file compression into MS-DOS, and later bundled a browser and a media player with Windows. Both issues were formally investigated by competition authorities in the United States.

Last week Spotify filed a complaint with the European Competition Commission over Apple's 30 per cent "tax", or cut of revenue. The streaming company argued this discourages software developers from converting free users to paying users via the App Store. A service such as Slack must acquire paying customers through its website or desktop app instead, which is not exactly a seamless mobile experience. Apple refuted the claims, responding: "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free."

Kaspersky may get a sympathetic hearing. In 2017, the Russian regulator found Apple guilty of price-fixing the iPhone. Russia also fined Google for abusing its Android monopoly – but not very much.

We have contacted Apple for comment. ®

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