Japan Fair Trade Commission Investigating Apple

Irving Hamilton
August 17, 2018

Japanese regulators are investigating Apple Inc over allegations it unfairly pressured Yahoo Japan Corp to slow the expansion of its online games platform, which competes with Apple's App Store, Japanese media reported on Thursday.

People visit an Apple store in Istanbul, Turkey August 15, 2018.

Launched in July 2017, Yahoo Japan's Game Plus allows users to play games without needing to download apps and gives developers lesser restrictions in matters relating to sales, fees and software updates than Apple's App Store, the report said.

Neither Apple, Yahoo nor the FTC immediately responded to requests for comment.

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Shares in Yahoo Japan fell around 2.5 percent in early trade, while the broader market slipped 0.5 percent. The platform has over 60 million active users (almost half of the country's population), but a year ago Yahoo Japan reduced its budget significantly and has cut on marketing expenses.

However, the company slashed the budget for Game Plus last fall, promotion for the platform dwindled and Square Enix also removed the platform-exclusive game Antique Carnevale in April.

The streaming service from Yahoo Japan was created to bypass the digital storefronts, offering up better deals for developers, as stated by Nikkei. And the platform was certainly starting to gain speed, because major developers like Square Enix, the developer behind the Final Fantasy titles, developed a game exclusively for the platform.

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