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MercadoLibre Files Anti-Competitive Complaint Against Apple

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MercadoLibre Files Anti-Competitive Complaint Against Apple

(CTN News) – MercadoLibre Inc (MELI.O) said on Monday it had filed antitrust complaints in Brazil and Mexico against Apple Inc (AAPL.O) for anticompetitive practices, accusing Apple of abusing what it called a monopoly in the distribution of apps for its devices.

According to the e-commerce giant, Apple has imposed a series of restrictions on the distribution of digital goods and in-app purchases, including banning apps from MercadoLibre distributing third-party digital goods and services, including movies, music, video games, books, and written content.

The South American company criticized Apple for requiring developers to use Apple’s payment system for digital goods or services within apps. In addition, Apple prevented them from redirecting buyers to their own websites.

This clearly harms its competitors, unless they are integrated digital giants themselves, who may even benefit from this artificial tilt towards integrated ecosystems,” Jacobo Cohen Imach, senior vice president of legal and public affairs, said.

The complaints against Apple were filed with the Brazilian antitrust agency CADE, the Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission, and the Federal Telecommunications Institute, according to MercadoLibre.

It was not possible to reach regulators for comment immediately. MercadoLibre’s antitrust director Paolo Franco Benedetti said in an interview that the company is not fully comfortable with Google’s policies, but is focused right now on complaints against Apple instead of a similar move against Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O).

According to Benedetti, Google’s app store has fewer restrictions than Apple’s.

According to Reuters, Apple declined to comment in Brazil and did not respond immediately to a request for comment in the United States. Google did not have a comment on the matter.

Apple’s policies have been challenged in nearly every corner of the world over the past few years.

Apple was found not to have violated antitrust law in a U.S. court trial last year over similar allegations. This is in part because its rules led to enhanced security for users.

In spite of this, the ruling is currently being appealed, and the prospect of a global solution to the problem seems distant at the moment.

According to Refinitiv data, MercadoLibre, a Latin American company listed on Nasdaq, has a market capitalization of $47.53 billion, which makes it one of the largest companies in Latin America.

Apple, according to Cohen Imach, tried “unsuccessfully” to negotiate with the online giant, but was unable to do so. He added that although we would have preferred to avoid a  MercadoLibre conflict with the world’s largest company; however, we are convinced that we are doing the right thing for the future of competition as a whole.

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