South African regulator goes after tech monopolies


Over the past couple of years, South Africa has been heading in the right direction to cut down companies that monopolise markets. 

In 2019, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) discovered—after a 3-year inquiry—that DStv had a dominant position in the market. It made several recommendations to break DStv’s monopoly in SSA.

South Africa’s not done with monopolist companies.

Last week, South Africa’s Competition Commission released the results of its 14-month intermediation platforms inquiry.

Basically, the Commission spent the past 14 months finding out which platforms were so popular that other services in the same sector would find it difficult to compete.

The Commission investigated a few companies including Apple App Store and Google Play Store in software app stores,, Airbnb, and UberEats.

For Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, the Commission said there’s not enough competition that justifies the high commission fees charged to app developers taking in-app payments.

Both Apple and Google take as high as 30% out of any payment you make using the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. The owner of the service gets 70%.

In South Africa, the Commission has decided that these fees are too high and seeing as there’s no competition for Google and Apple, SA wants the companies to allow developers to offer another form of payment to users or impose a limit to how much commission they can collect.

South Africa’s Commission is also recommending that Google Ads should prominently label its ads and allow only organic results to appear at the top of every search page results.

The Commission made a few other recommendations for other companies, and everyone—including the mentioned companies and the public—has 6 weeks to give feedback ahead of the final report which will be published in November.


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