EC drops Apple antitrust probes

Apple has got one antitrust monkey off its back, after the European Commission dropped probes into the apps development environment, and after-sales care.
The EC reacted to Apple’s decision to relax its apps development rules earlier this month, hailing the change in procedure as a victory for European competition laws.
A separate probe into its after sales care was dropped after Apple announced on Saturday it was establishing authorized repair centers to handle cross-border warranty claims for customers in member states, and Eastern Europe and Africa.
Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the Commission’s competition policy, claimed Apple had taken action after the EC opened the two probes earlier this year.
“Apple’s response to our preliminary investigations shows that the Commission can use the competition rules to achieve swift results on the market with clear benefits for consumers, without the need to open formal proceedings,” Almunia said.
The relaxation of developer rules means apps firms can now use third-party layers to produce their content – a move the EC said offers more flexibility.
Europe’s competition rules allow the EC to issue fines worth up to 10% of a company’s global revenues, Reuters said.
Apple is facing a growing number of antitrust actions and lawsuits, with the US FTC probing the firm’s restrictions on advertising, and threatening to investigate its decision to block Adobe’s Flash from its devices.
The US Justice Department, which was already probing a deal between Apple and other top flight tech firms over headhunting staff, also began investigating claims Apple had prevented music companies doing deals with Amazon.
In July, a Californian judge cleared the way for any iPhone owner in the US to be considered a plaintiff in a massive lawsuit covering potential antitrust breaches from its exclusive supply deal with AT&T.