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Exclusive-Apple seeks to dismiss Indian app market antitrust lawsuit, citing small market share

FILE PHOTO: A salesperson talks to a customer at an Apple outlet store in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: A salesperson talks to customers at an Apple outlet store in Mumbai, India September 1, 2021. REUTERS / Francis Mascarenhas / File Photo

December 19, 2021

By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Apple Inc has asked India’s antitrust watchdog to bring up a case alleging abuse of market power in the apps market, saying it is too small a player in India. South Asian country where Google dominates, a profile shown by Reuters shows.

The filing comes after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) began looking into allegations that Apple harmed competition by forcing app developers to use its proprietary system with a You can charge up to 30% commission on in-app purchases.

Apple has denied the allegations in the CCI application and emphasized that its market share in India is 0-5% “negligible”, while Google places an order of 90-100% because its Android operating system supports Supports most other smartphones.

“Apple does not dominate in the Indian market… Without dominance, there can be no abuse,” Apple said in a November 16 submission signed by Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer.

It adds: “Google is the dominant player in India that has been confirmed.

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

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

Apple countered that in its filing, saying that the entire smartphone market – including licensable systems like Android – is a market to be considered.

Apple also described India’s complaint as a “submission of authorization” in its CCI submission, saying that the complainant “has the ability to act in concert with the parties with whom Apple has contractual disputes.” and trade globally and/or have complained to other regulatory authorities.”

The American technology company did not present any evidence in the submission to support its claims. The nonprofit told Reuters that Apple’s remarks were “made to hurt the mind” of the CCI “without any proof.”

In the coming weeks, the CCI will review Apple’s response to the allegations and may request a broader investigation or dismiss the case altogether if it finds nothing in it. Details of the CCI investigations are not publicly available.

CCI is launching a separate investigation into Google’s in-app payments system as part of a broader investigation into the company after Indian startups voiced concerns last year.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s iOS operating system powers about 2% of the total 520 million smartphones in India, with the remainder using Android, although it added that Apple’s smartphone in this country has more than doubled in the past 5 years.

GLOBAL ISSUES

Apple has struggled with similar allegations in other parts of the world. In the US, it’s locked in a legal battle with Epic Games, the creators of “Fornite” over the matter, and South Korea this year became the first country to ban dominant app store operators. force developers to use their payment system.

At https://reut.rs/38nEVZZ of the European Union, regulators last year began an investigation into Apple’s in-app fees for the distribution of paid digital content and other fees. other limitations.

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

In its CCI filing, Apple argues that the in-app commissions it charges are “unfair or excessive” and have decreased over time, adding that it charges lower fees from small developers .

“Only a handful of major developers, many of which are multi-billion dollar corporations, pay a headline rate of 30 percent,” Apple said.

“Competing platforms have charged similar or higher commissions as Apple. In particular, Google charged a 30% commission on its app store,” it said.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Bobby Allyn

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