Dutch journalist turned media entrepreneur Alexander Klöpping wants to file a multi-billion dollar claim against Google and Apple through his App Stores claims foundation. The initiative, called “BIG TECH. FAIR PLAY”, seeks to recover about €1B from the tech giants.
According to Klöpping, Apple and Google are abusing their dominant position and charging app makers up to 30 per cent commission on every transaction in their app stores. Calling it unfair, Klöpping says app developers are thus forced to pass this cost on to customers.
“Apple and Google have violated competition law by excluding competition in the app stores and digital payment systems and charging excessive commissions of up to 30% for digital purchases made through their app stores,” says the foundation on its website..
Klöpping’s foundation has calculated the total payment Dutch consumers have paid to Google and Apple since the existence of the app stores, and that comes somewhere around €1B, reports Emerce.nl.
“We will recover this damage for all users of the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store through a collective action against Apple and a collective action against Google, jointly the Big Tech Fair Play initiative,” says the foundation.
Alexander Klöpping founded Blendle, an online platform that allows readers to pay for individual articles from major publishers instead of having to pay a monthly subscription, with Marten Blankesteijn in 2014. In 2020, the company was acquired by its French competitor Cafeyn for an undisclosed amount.
App Store controversy
This is not the first time Cupertino tech giant Apple has found itself in an App Store controversy. It is increasingly under pressure across the globe because of its rules and regulations surrounding the App Store.
Last year, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) found that the company’s rules pertaining to the App Store are anti-competitive as it forces software developers to use its in-app payment system.
In 2019, the Dutch ACM had launched an investigation into whether Apple’s practices amounted to an abuse of a dominant market position.
Apple and Epic Games also engaged in a legal battle after the latter sued Apple for what it termed it’s ‘anti-competitive’ and ‘monopolistic’ practices.
Subsequently, the California District Court instructed Apple to make it easier for consumers to purchase Epic Games apps through other alternate payment methods instead of Apple Pay.