The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an antitrust investigation on Apple’s App Store business practices. Apple doesn’t let third-party app stores be listed on the App Store. The guidelines, as well as the agreement policy, restrict the developers from offering third-party app store services on Apple’s App Store. Because of the current policies and restrictions, the market for app stores for iOS dies down. It is worth noting that CCI is also in a similar battle against Google’s Play Store policies. The issue with the current policies is that they hamper third-party app developers and the entire ecosystem.
Apple Prohibits Developers from Informing Users to Purchase the App from Web
According to an IANS report, CCI has said that the current policies make it mandatory for the developers to use Apple’s proprietary in-app purchase system (IAP) for the distribution of paid digital content. On this, Apple charges the developers up to 30% commission on the subscriptions sold through the mandatory IAP.
The CCI order said Apple prohibits the developers from informing the users that they have the ability to purchase their same subscription out on the web as well. Apple doesn’t let the developers add in a button or a link on their offerings that redirect the user to a third-party payment processing solution that isn’t Apple’s IAP.
This is in violation of the competition norms as the current App Store policies result in the denial of market access for the potential app distributors or app store developers. Not just in India, but Apple has faced antitrust investigations by the European Union and the United States (US) Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its App Store policy.
On a similar note, Google has asked for more time to reply to CCI’s antitrust allegations through a writ in the high court. Apple and Google are two of the biggest app distributors in the world, with millions of users accessing the App Store and Play Store every day.