Anti-Trust Case Filed Against Apple For Abusing Its Dominance For In-App Payments

Despite the reforms, the CCI will still focus on past conduct.

Apple is under the scanner for allegedly abusing its dominance on in-app  payments and is accused of antitrust practices.

It is being accused of forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system.

Similar charges were leveled by the European Union last year when it accused Apple of imposing an in-app fee of 30% for distribution of paid digital content.

30% Payment Fee Hurting Developers

In India, the case has to do with Apple’s fee of up to 30% which hurts competition by raising costs for app developers and customers.

It also serves as a barrier to market entry.

The exorbitant rate means that some app developers will never make it to the market and can also result in consumer harm.

CCI Likely To Investigate

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will preside over the case.

It can either order a wider investigation or can dismiss it if it finds no merit.

It is more likely that an investigation will be ordered given that the EU is also investigating a similar situation.

Growing Presence In India

Though Apple’s presence in India is just 2% of 520 million smartphones by end-2020, its smartphone base has more than doubled  in the last five years.

In yet another challenge to Apple, South Korea has approved a bill which would ban major app store operators including Apple from forcing developers to use their payment systems.

Ban On Developer-User Communications

Apple and Google have defended themselves and said that the fee takes into account the security and marketing benefits of their app stores.

The antitrust case says that Apple has also cracked down on developers personally communicating with users regarding alternative payment solutions.

This is clearly anti-competitive, and also hurts the country’s payment processors who offer services at lower charges in the range of 1-5%.

Too Late For New Reforms

Apple has eased some of the restrictions as it now allows developers to contact users through email.

It has also allowed apps to send links to customers which would bypass Apple’s purchase system.

However, law experts say that despite the reforms, the CCI will still focus on past conduct regarding law violations.

It will also expedite cases involving tech giants by deploying more officers and issuing stricter internal deadlines.

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