Qustodio & Kidslox File a Complaint Against Apple with the European Commission over Abuse of Dominant Position
Parental control software makers join league of companies standing up to Apple’s increasingly anti-competitive practices in the App Store marketplace.
BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Qustodio and Kidslox, two leading companies in the parental control market, have filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission Directorate-General for Competition (EC DGComp) in regards to severe anti-competitive practices in the iOS App Store.
Qustodio and Kidslox develop parental control apps that help millions of parents worldwide protect their children online by allowing them to supervise and block harmful content and create healthy digital habits. The Qustodio and Kidslox apps, and those of their competitors, had been available and coexisting peacefully on the App Store for years until Apple moved into the space as a competitor in September of 2018 by pre-installing its own Screen Time service on all iOS 12 devices, activating it by default, and making it non-removable from those devices in any way. Screen Time uses exclusive technologies not available to other app developers in the category, comes at zero price point, and does not operate on non-iOS devices, further locking users into the Apple ecosystem.
Since then, Apple has arbitrarily blocked the most relevant parental control apps in the market from making app updates, hindering innovation and potential growth. On top of that, Apple went so far as to terminate apps from developers who did not take defensive measures against Apple's systematic hostilities, fatally harming such businesses in the process.
"With the introduction of Apple's Screen Time, developers in the parental control category experienced unprecedented anti-competitive behavior from Apple. The company acts as both a marketplace and a gatekeeper and uses its dominant position to create exclusive competitive advantage for its own service," Qustodio CEO Eduardo Cruz said. “We’re requesting the European Commission take action to ensure fair and honest competition.”
"To create Screen Time, Apple took the best pieces and best practices from existing parental control and wellbeing apps in the App Store, bringing no tangible innovations to market. Standing up to Apple is about even more than fair competition,” Kidslox CEO Viktor Yevpak said. “It’s about innovation and being able to continually deliver the best technology to our users to help them care for and protect their children in a world where harmful content and apps are evolving constantly.”
What does this mean for consumers?
Apple's blocking and delisting of competitive parental control apps in the App Store leaves users with no freedom of choice and puts children who use iOS devices exposed to greater threats online. It also makes parents dependent upon Apple for determining standards for parental monitoring, device use balance, digital education, and overall children’s digital safety.
What does this mean for app developers?
The threat of being delisted and the inability to make updates, get access to important technologies or define your app communication strategy, hinders innovation and forces app developers to slow down the release of features that could dramatically add value to users worldwide. Managing the ever constant changes of App Store rules and anti competitive behaviors is also a drain on resources that put otherwise healthy companies potentially out of business. Finally, it forces app developers, including all big and small companies, to look for alternatives outside the App Store and harms Apple’s reputation.
What do Qustodio and Kidslox seek?
Qustodio and Kidslox are asking Apple to stop this unprecedented hostile behaviour, compete fairly, and open up exclusive API’s and technologies introduced in their own Screen Time service. Both companies have filed the complaint together against Apple with the European Commission because they want to ensure the peaceful commercialization of independent apps and to be able to continue to provide their customers with the best safety and wellbeing solutions in the market.
Qustodio is the leading platform for digital safety and wellbeing for families. Designed to help families protect their children in an increasingly digital world, detect cyberbullying and online predators, and prevent screentime addiction, the app is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Kindle, and provides a seamless experience across multiple devices in 8 languages. Qustodio is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, has over 80 employees and 2 million users worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.qustodio.com
Kidslox is a parental control app designed to help families manage screen time. Our parental controls let you block apps, block internet and filter web content with ease. One account is all you need to add as many iPhones, iPads, iPods and other mobile devices as you have in your family. For more information, visit https://kidslox.com/
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