The Competition Commission of India (CCI), India’s competition watchdog, is currently reviewing an investigative report on Apple‘s App Store billing policies, with plans to ask for responses from the involved parties, say legal experts. They suggest that the CCI’s stance and the probe’s results might align with the antitrust regulator’s previous decision against Google.
What Happened? Per an ET report, experts believe that the CCI might direct Apple to adjust its App Store billing and commission policies, similar to their action against Google. This could lead Apple to modify its closely protected iOS operating system, an unprecedented move for the tech giant.
In a previous order, the CCI instructed Google to permit third-party billing systems for payments on the Play Store, not limiting options to Google Play’s billing system. Google is currently appealing this order.
Legal professionals argue that if the CCI requires Apple to allow other payment methods on its app store, it could compromise Apple’s tightly controlled ecosystem. This potential change could introduce third parties to Apple’s operating system, leading to a challenging battle for the company.
Fighting Similar Battles: The CCI began probing Apple’s policies in December 2021 following complaints about the high commission the company charges and the lack of third-party payment options on the app store. Not-for-profit organisation Together We Fight Society was among the complainants.
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The Alliance of Digital India Foundation and US-based tech company Match Group also filed similar cases, which the investigators then combined.
While similar allegations were made against Google, the operating models of the two tech giants are fundamentally different. Google’s Android is open-source, whereas Apple’s iOS powers only Apple devices and isn’t licensable.
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