After Google’s Fine, CCI to now speed up its investigation into Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour- Technology News, Firstpost

The Competition Commission of India imposed two fines on Google totalling Rs 2,274 crore over the tech company’s anti-competitive behaviour. Now, the CCI has decided that it will be speeding up its investigations into Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour, and will finalise its investigation into Apple Inc., by the end of January 2023.

Apple is facing similar charges as Google, of forcing app developers and studios to use Apple’s in-house billing system and of charging 30 per cent for the distribution of paid apps and other digital services. Image Credit: AFP

The allegations against Google were twofold. The first penalty of Rs 1,338 crore was imposed on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in relation to Android mobile devices and forcing OEM device manufacturers to provide Google’s own apps over the apps from their competitors as the default, preinstalled options. 

The second penalty, amounting to Rs 936 crore was imposed for making access to the Play Store for app developers dependent on mandatory usage of GPBS (Google Play’s Billing System) for paid apps and in-app purchases.

The second infraction that Google was found guilty of, forcing app developers and studios to use Google’s billing system for paid apps and in-app purchases is similar to what the anti-trust allegations have been levelled against Apple in India. 

Apple is actually facing a similar case in the European Union as well, where regulators Started an investigation into Apple’s imposition of an in-app fee of 30 per cent for the distribution of paid digital content and other restrictions.

The case in India was filed by a non-profit group called Together We Fight Society, which is based in Rajasthan. They argue that Apple’s fee of up to 30 per cent hurts competition by raising costs for app developers and customers, while also acting as a barrier to market entry for smaller developers.

Given the manner in which Google’s case proceeded and the reasons for which they were fined, it looks like Apple will be dealt with a similar blow. If such a scenario indeed rises, it will be interesting to see how Apple proceeds in such a case. Apple faces a possible hefty fine and may have to open its mobile payment system to competitors. Alternatively, they may be forced to change the manner in which they process payments for apps and in-app purchases in India.

So far, we know that the CCI’s comments on Apple show that it follows the argument that Google has been making, saying that Apple has a much larger market share globally according to revenue-based market share than Google’s Play. If this becomes a factor during the final stages of the investigation, chances are, Apple will be hit with a much larger fine.

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