Apple slapped with antitrust complaint alleging unfair fees in India
Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has been hit with an antitrust filing in India against its 30% commission on in-app purchases, according to documents seen by Reuters. The complaint filed with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleges that Apple is abusing its dominance in the app market by forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system. Here are more details.
Complaint alleges Apple's fee unfairly raises costs for developers, consumers
According to a recent Reuters report, a source and documents filed with the CCI accuse Apple of unfairly levying a 30% in-app fee for distributing paid digital content because that hurts the competition by raising costs for app developers and consumers alike. A lesser-known non-profit that filed the complaint added that the commission also acts as a barrier to market entry for developers.
There are high chances that CCI will order an investigation
This case is similar to the one regarding Apple's 30% fee in the European Union into which a regulator-led investigation began last year. Meanwhile in India, the CCI and Apple didn't respond to Reuters's request for comment. To note, CCI filings aren't made publicly available, unlike conventional lawsuits. An unidentified source told Reuters, "There are high chances that an investigation can be ordered."
Apple allegedly spoils developer-customer relations by injecting itself as intermediary
The antitrust filing in India alleges that the way Apple restricts developers' communication with users to offer payment solutions is also anticompetitive. This allegedly hurts the country's payments processing gateways that offer services at charges as low as 1-5% cut. Apple also hurts competitors by restricting developers from informing customers of other purchasing possibilities thereby harming the developers' relationship with customers.
CCI plans to fast-track all cases involving Big Tech companies
The Rajasthan-based non-profit, called Together We Fight Society, that filed the complaint told Reuters that the case had been filed in the interest of protecting Indian consumers and start-ups. Back in June, it was reported that the CCI also plans to accelerate all cases pertaining to Big Tech firms by deploying additional officers and tightening its own internal deadlines.
India remains Android-dominated market, Apple has just 2% share
The case comes just as the South Korean parliament passed a bill this week disallowing app store operators such as Google and Apple from forcing developers to use their payments systems. Interestingly though, Apple doesn't command a significant market share in India. Reportedly, iOS powers a meager 2% of the 520 million smartphones in India, according to Counterpoint Research's data from 2020.