India orders probe into Apple over abuse of app market

India’s competition watchdog the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation into Apple’s business practices.
Apple iPhone 12 5G smartphone for business
The order from the CCI comes after a non-profit group alleged that Apple was abusing its dominant position in the apps market by forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system.

The complainant, “Together We Fight Society”, argued that Apple’s imposition of a 30 percent in-app fee for distribution of paid digital content and other restrictions hurts competition by raising costs for app developers and customers, while also acting as a barrier to market entry.

The CCI said Apple’s restrictions prima facie result in denial of market access for potential app developers and distributors.

Apple did not respond.

Apple denied the allegations in a filing to the CCI last month, Reuters reported. Apple last month asked the Indian regulator to throw out the case, stressing that its market share in India was an insignificant 0-5 percent.

CCI said in the order that Apple’s argument on its market share was misdirected as the allegations were about anti-competitive restrictions on app developers and not end-users.

The allegations are similar to a case Apple faces in the European Union, where regulators last year started an investigation into the U.S. tech giant.

The CCI ordered its investigations unit to complete the investigation and submit a report within 60 days of the order. Typically such investigations go on for several months.

The watchdog is also conducting an investigation into Google’s in-app payment system as part of a broader probe into the company after Indian startups last year voiced concern.

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