Apple’s appeal hit a brick wall, and the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service now has permission to start an antitrust investigation into the App Store. The antitrust case will move forward as Apple’s appeal to re-examine the Russian agency’s grounds for the investigation was rejected. If found guilty of monopolistic conduct, Apple could face fines based on its revenue in Russia. Apple is blocking developers from connecting users to external payment options, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service said.
The agency gave Apple until September 2021 to rectify it and filed an antitrust lawsuit in October. However, the lawsuit comes just days after Apple removed antitrust provisions from its App Store rules. The company then appealed to the court for judicial review of the antitrust regulator’s warning.
According to Reuters, a court rejected Apple’s appeal, giving Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service grounds to continue its investigation into Apple’s App Store rules. The company has several legal disputes with Russia. A class-action lawsuit alleges that the company’s shutdown of its payment platform in Russia caused “deliberate moral damage” to people in the region.
Despite the tension between Russia and Ukraine, the company is still attending to its legal disputes in Russia. However, the company is not running its regular business. According to reports, its stores are no longer active in Russia.
Apple terminates Russian Mir card users
Recently, the company had to suspend its payment service of Russia’s Mir card payment system. This effectively closes the loophole that allows Russians to continue to use its payment services. Mir cards are still linked to Apple Pay even after the company restricted MasterCard and Visa cardholders from using the platform in Russia. Russia’s national card payment system said that access to Mir has been removed. It also claims that the Mir card will no longer work with Apple Pay in the coming days.
“Apple has notified NSPK that it will suspend support for Mir cards in the ApplePay payment service. Starting March 24, users cannot add new Mir cards to the service. Apple will stop supporting Mir cards in the next few days and all operations for previously added cards,” NSPK said on Friday.
The company’s payment platform support for the Mir payment system hit the market in July 2021. Mir is Russia’s national payment system and 150 banks issue Mir cards. Apple ended the use of its payment service in Russia on March 1. The company also stopped all product sales in the country. iTunes and App Store purchases reportedly stopped on March 10.