Apple asks CCI to dismiss case against app market

Apple Inc. has asked the Indian Competition Commission (ICC) to dismiss the claims that the company violates India’s competition laws.

Case filed by Jaipur-based nonprofit Together We Fight Society (TWFS) alleges fees charged by Apple to developers for selling apps and in-app items through the App Store violate rules Indian competition.

In a November 16 response, the iPhone maker argued that its market share in the country was too small for it to be considered dominant. “Without domination, there can be no abuse,” said Apple’s chief compliance officer Kyle Andeer in response.

TWFS filed a lawsuit against Apple in September. He alleged that Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases through its App Store increases costs for app developers and customers and acts as a barrier for small developers to market their services.

Shivani Dharnia, president of TWFS, said her organization had filed a reply to Apple’s response to the ICC. “We stated in our reply that while Apple may not have a significant market share in licensed operating systems in India, it does have a significant presence in India among unlicensed operating systems,” Dharnia said.

Apple’s response to CCI also claimed that the complaint may have been a “filing of power of attorney”. This allegation suggests that TWFS is acting “in concert with parties with whom Apple has ongoing commercial and contractual disputes around the world and / or who have filed a complaint with other regulators.”

Dharnia has denied the claims and said Apple has not provided any evidence to support this claim. “We will respond to such a claim as required when Apple provides proof thereon, which it does not have,” Dharnia said.

Apple has adopted the market definition in its defense because Google is the dominant player in India, said Anisha Chand, partner at Khaitan & Co. forward, ”said Chand.

“In competition law, the issue of the abuse of unfair prices can only be considered if the entity in question is in a dominant position. The latter is not a simple monopoly, but a function of several factors, of which the market share is a key factor. “

She also cited a 2013 case against Apple, which called into question the consolidation of its services between them. The ICC quashed the complaint, saying an investigation was not necessary because Apple’s market share in India was low. Chand said Apple would likely rely heavily on this case, but he should also be aware that Indian technology and consumers have collectively changed and evolved since then.

“I think the case against Apple is likely to be overturned. One can infer from CCI cases, citing Articles 3 and 4 of the Competition Act 2002, which largely state that if the overall market share is between 0 and 5%, there is no effect appreciable negative on competition in India, ”said Abhishek. Singh Baghel, associate partner at DSK Legal.

The ICC has been in the spotlight on big tech competition regulation since foreign regulators recently made important decisions regarding the business models of Apple, Google and other tech companies.

The Japanese Fair Trade Commission ruled Apple’s commission policy anti-competitive in September. Apple, in turn, announced a regulation that would allow apps with items that can be purchased in the app to include an external payment link in the country. In addition, South Korea has developed a policy that prohibits companies such as Apple and Google from forcing their payment methods on app developers.

Apple has also defended its App Store commission in a case against gaming giant Epic Games saying the commission acts as a royalty paid by developers to use a single secure platform it has invested in to grow.

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