Apple 'surprised' by Australian app developer complaints

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Apple has told Australia's anti-competition authorities that it is "surprised" that developers have concerns about the App Store.

Apple is already in the midst of App Store legal disputes such as the ongoing battle with "Fortnite" developer Epic Games, and smaller scale developer lawsuits. It has now, though, formally submitted evidence to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expressing doubt about developer complaints.

"Apple is surprised to hear that developers have legitimate concerns about their ability to engage with Apple in the app review process, in circumstances where the purpose of app review is to ensure the quality of apps on the App Store and Apple invests significant time and resources in engaging with developers directly to work together to achieve that shared goal." says the company in a submission. "Apple would therefore like to provide further information to the Commission to assist it in assessing the veracity of the concerns raised by developers in their submissions."

The submission then summarizes the "human-led process of reviewing apps submitted to the App Store." It says that the process is "to ensure they are reliable, perform as expected, respect user privacy, and are free of objectionable content."

Apple claims to review 73% of submitted apps within 24 hours. Reportedly, if an app is rejected, then the company gives the developer detailed information about why.

It then further details what action developers can take to query the rejection. This includes a Resolution Center, and "the option to make a formal appeal."

Alongside the formal appeal system, Apple says it "operates a worldwide telephone support line for developers who have enquiries about topics such as app submission and management, enrolment and membership, and analytics."

That support line is reportedly available "in all 175 countries where the Apple App Store is present," and receives an average of 1,000 calls weekly.

Apple also breaks out details of the facilities and procedures it has for app developers in Australia.

"Specifically, Apple's Australian Developer Relations team works with developers to provide support and guidance, including (but not limited to)... creating apps in Australia and New Zealand for iOS," it says. "[Also...] the tools and features provided by Apple Inc to enhance and improve the development, and updating, of apps which developers eventually submit for App Review, to be made available on the Australian App Store."

Apple further tells the ACCC that members of its "content services team also regularly meet with developers" to "assist" them to understand how services, "including the Australian App Store" work.

The ACCC is currently examining Apple's App Store policies. Separately, it has also recently begun investigating both Apple and Google over issues of web browser dominance.

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