Competition panel notice to Apple for misuse of position

Debangana Ghosh Mumbai | Updated on October 07, 2021

The Competition Commission of India has asked Apple Inc to respond to the allegations that the tech giant has been misusing its dominant position through its App Store forcing start-ups and developers to use only its payment gateway and levying stiff commissions on in-app purchases. Apple has time till mid-October to respond to the notice.

The CCI notice was issued on September 15, a copy of which was seen by BusinessLine. Post the submission, the complainant, a Rajasthan-based NGO, Together We Fight Society, will get another two weeks to reply.

The non-profit had filed a complaint with the CCI on August 4, alleging that the tech giant has been misusing its dominant position through App Store by forcing start-ups and developers to use only its own payment gateway and pay high commissions of 30 per cent for in-app purchases on the sale of digital goods and services.

The complainant added that this created a entry barrier while also muzzling competition with other payment gateways which charge a commission of 1.8-2 per cent unlike Apple’s 30 per cent. Given that Apple has its own offerings in most verticals such as Apple Maps and Apple Music, the NGO said this also targets competing apps like Spotify.

The CCI is also probing Google over similar anti-trust practices in India. The probe started in 2019. Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), told BusinessLine: “We support Together We Fight Society on this case. From the ADIF standpoint, we are looking at ecosystem development. We want to ensure that markets remain competitive and open. Apple has been a proprietary software which needs to open up, while Google is an open platform which is looking to monopolise its market dominance by introducing anti-competitive practices.”

Published on October 07, 2021

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