Mexican e-commerce giant MercadoLibre files complaints against Apple

Mexican e-commerce giant MercadoLibre files complaints against Apple

SAO PAULO E-commerce giant MercadoLibre said on Monday it had filed complaints against Apple Inc. with antitrust regulators in Brazil and Mexico for anticompetitive practices, accusing the U.S. based firm of abusing what it called a monopoly in the distribution of apps for its devices.

In a statement, the e-commerce giant said Apple had imposed restrictions on the distribution of digital goods and in-app purchases, including banning apps from distributing third-party digital goods and services such as movies, music, video games, books and written content.

The South American company criticized the California tech giant for requiring developers who offer digital goods or services within apps to use Apple's own payment system to redirect customers to their websites. Jacobo Cohen Imach, senior vice president of legal and public affairs, said that this clearly harms its competitors, unless they are integrated digital giants themselves. The complaints against Apple had been filed with the federal Telecommunications Institute and Federal Economic Competition Commission in Mexico and Brazil, according to MercadoLibre.

The regulators could not be reached for comment. Asked if they would consider a similar move against Alphabet Inc's Google, MercadoLibre's antitrust director Paolo Franco Benedetti said in an interview that the company was not completely comfortable with Google's policies, but is focused on the complaints against Apple right now. According to Benedetti, Google's app store has less strict rules than Apple's.

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.

A judge found that Apple had not violated antitrust law because of its rules for security benefits that outweighed any harm to appmakers in a U.S. court trial last year.

The ruling is being appealed, and a global resolution on the concerns appears distant. Nasdaq-listed MercadoLibre is one of the largest companies in Latin America, with a market value of $47.53 billion, according to Refinitiv data. Cohen Imach said the e-commerce giant tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with Apple. He said that we would have preferred to avoid a conflict with the world's largest company, but we are convinced that we are doing the right thing for the future of competition.