A group of news, gaming and music app developers has banded together to form a coalition in protest against Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour, as tensions between the tech giant and app makers over the terms of its App Store continue to escalate.

The Coalition for App Fairness said it was formed to advocate for fair policies, urgent oversight of the App Store and regulatory changes that would give consumers more choice. It cited “excessive fees” and “rules that give Apple’s own apps an unfair advantage” over the competition.

The 13 groups involved include app developers that have already sued Apple, such as streaming service Spotify, Fortnite parent Epic Games and email service Blix, as well as groups that been vocal in the past including lost-items tracker Tile, Tinder parent Match Group and management tool Basecamp.

Other complainants include flight planning group SkyDemon, News Media Europe and Prepear, a small meal-prep company that Apple sued last month because its fruity logo “readily calls to mind” Apple’s own.

The coalition is being run by Sarah Maxwell, who held previous roles in public relations and policy at Uber, Blockchain.com and the White House.

With roughly 2m apps on the App Store, the coalition of fewer than 20 companies represents a tiny minority, but Ms Maxwell said: “In the grand scheme of things it’s not about the number, it’s the issues. We won’t stop until something is resolved, reformed and changed.”

Apple could not be reached for immediate comment. Last week, following pressure from developers, the iPhone maker introduced some policy changes including removing its 30 per cent fee on certain online classes.

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The coalition was formed about a month after Fortnite was removed from Apple’s App Store for circumventing its in-store payment mechanism. Epic sued and began to approach other app developers for support.

Tim Sweeney, Epic’s chief executive, said the new group would advocate on behalf of “any company that’s ready to reclaim its rights and challenge the anti-competitive behaviours that exist on app stores today”. He added: “The basic freedoms of developers are under attack.”

Microsoft is not part of the coalition but it has supported Epic’s battle and last week criticised Apple’s approach to streaming games services as “a bad experience for customers”.

Facebook is also not involved, though chief executive Mark Zuckerberg recently told employees that Apple had a “stranglehold” on what consumers can see on their phones and said App Store policy “blocks innovation” and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents”.

Ben Volach, founder of Blix, said Apple had recently demonstrated signs it was willing to change, but only after scrutiny and attention. “We want Apple to create the level playing field it has promised,” he said.

Via Financial Times