Given the popularity of the iOS platform, it’s easy to see how Apple can hold a tremendous amount of sway over developers. So much so that in a report from the Nikkei Asian Review (via AppleInsider), the company might have landed themselves in a bit of hot water as they are being investigated by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) over alleged anti-competitive behavior.
The report claims that Apple had apparently persuaded its business partners not to cooperate with Yahoo’s Game Plus platform. For those unfamiliar (and we can’t say we blame you), Game Plus is a service launched in Japan in which it was a web-based platform that created games on the web accessible on mobile devices. This meant that developers did not have to develop platform-specific apps.
It sounds pretty convenient but it also meant that any money made by these apps would not be given to Apple. Companies like Apple and Google take a cut from apps sold via their respective app stores, and so by bypassing the App Store, Apple stands to lose out on potential revenue which is why they reportedly pressured their partners to back away from Game Plus. Yahoo Japan has since cut its budget for the platform and has even stopped promoting it.
Japan’s FTC has declined to comment on the case, and according to Nikkei’s sources, SoftBank has apparently stepped in to act as a mediator for both companies. This is because SoftBank not only owns shares in Yahoo, but also collects payments from SoftBank customers who make purchases on Apple’s App Store, indicating that they have an interest in keeping both companies happy.