Apple seeks dismissal of India apps market antitrust case

Reuters | | | Updated on: Dec 20, 2021

The Competition Commission of India is reviewing allegations that Apple hurts competition by forcing app developers to use its proprietary system | Photo Credit: Dado Ruvic

Cites tiny share in a market dominated by Google

Apple Inc has asked India’s antitrust watchdog to throw out a case alleging abuse of market power in the apps market, saying it is too small a player in the country where Google is dominant, a filing seen by Reuters shows.

The filing was made after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) started reviewing allegations that Apple hurts competition by forcing app developers to use its proprietary system, which can charge commissions of up to 30 per cent on in-app purchases.

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Apple denied the allegations in its filing to the CCI and stressed that its market share in India is an “insignificant” 0-5 per cent, while Google commands 90-100 per cent as its Android operating system powers most other smartphones.

“Apple is not dominant in the Indian market ... Without dominance, there can be no abuse,” Apple said in the submission dated November 16, which was signed by its Chief Compliance Officer, Kyle Andeer.

Apple and the CCI did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Alphabet Inc’s Google declined to comment when asked about Apple’s assertions in the filing.

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The complainant in the case, a little-known non-profit group called “Together We Fight Society”, said that Apple with iOS dominates the market for non-licensable mobile operating systems.

Apple countered that in its filing, saying the entire smartphone market, which includes licensable systems like Android, is the market that should be taken into consideration.

Separate CCI probe of Google

In the coming weeks, the CCI will review Apple’s response to the allegations and could order a wider investigation or dismiss the case altogether if it finds no merit in it. Details of CCI investigations are not publicly disclosed.

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

Apple has been grappling with similar allegations in other parts of the world.

Companies like Apple and Google say their fees cover the security and marketing benefits their app stores provide.

Published on December 20, 2021
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