It is always a mystery – why are European courts penalizing oil companies which are operating in Africa, and making tons of money in the process, when the REAL victims in Africa get nothing? Yes, EU and UK courts have made $billions on fines, penalties, etc, in the last two decades, on cases associated with how major oil majors have operated in Africa. In all these fines, none of the fines made their ways back to Africa. So, it works like this: do wrong in African oil fields, and prosecutors will go after you, and you settle with the state via a penalty; case closed. The citizens of the oil fields get nothing!
Why am I referring to this? The UK and European regulators have opened their high voltage searchlights on the activities of big technology companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google, and are taking tons of money as fines and penalties. India has joined the fray. China would not even allow you in. The latest is that UK regulators are after Apple for its iOS policies; Apple is really mean, I must say, when you see how it guards its in-app payment gateway to ensure it collects those taxes.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an antitrust inquiry into Apple, due to many complaints coming from developers about the iPhone maker’s App Store.
Apple released the iOS 14 late last year, the newest version of its operating system which came with new policies that have become the center of controversy between the tech giant and developers.
Apple only allows developers to release iPhone and iPad apps through its iOS smartphone platform. Apart from the rigorous process it takes for apps to be approved on iOS, Apple charges 30% on in-app transactions. The CMA said it may amount to unfair practice by the Cupertino firm.
“Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway,” Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA said.
“Complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps – warrant careful scrutiny,” he added.
But as these jurisdictions push these entities, from India to the UK, EU to China, and beyond, Africa Union has been frozen. I mean, someone needs to tell AU that Africa has software developers affected by Apple’s policies, and they deserve to be supported and protected. The UK and EU are constantly fighting for their people and companies, African Union needs to do the same.
The digital economy is here and we cannot just give up our rights so that Europe and North America will become the judges, defendants and prosecutors. Someone in Ethiopia needs to push for changes and I am confident that these technology companies will listen because we have the numbers.
The most important thing here is how someone can tell Apple to allow alternative payment systems. If that happens, most of our fintechs will have opportunities. If the UK is fighting for that, AU needs to join that movement.
Click to join Tekedia Capital and build Next Africa with min of $10,000 co-investment in startups.