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Taking Stock of App Stores

Taking Stock of App Stores

In April 2019, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published a market study on mobile app stores. In this study, we described how the market for app stores for mobile phones has evolved in recent years, how app providers get their apps published in an app store, and whether app providers perceive any problems in this context. ACM received information from app providers about certain practices of Apple and Google. In the conclusion of our study, we held the provisional view that there is cause for concern. Considering the reports we received concerning the possible abusive behaviour of Apple’s use of its app store, and considering the public interest that might be at stake, we concluded that several problems needed further investigation.

In this article, we describe the reasons, approach, and findings of the market study. We conclude by exploring possible future approaches, including a possible extension of the current regulatory toolkit.

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