Indian Competition Authority Investigates Apple In-App Pay System


Photo: Chris Delmas (Getty Images)

Taking a closer look at Apple’s in-app payment system in the App Store is all the rage among government officials these days, with multiple countries accepting cards. A new report claims India’s competition authority has also jumped on Apple’s regulations, a move that will no doubt focus more attention on an issue the company would rather not talk about.

TechCrunch reported on Friday The Competition Commission of India, the country’s antitrust regulator, has ordered an investigation into Apple’s in-app payment system to be conducted over the next 60 days. Apple requires all developers on the App Store to use the in-app payment system and takes between 15% and 30% of all revenue from all purchases.

The committee is said to have started investigating Apple’s practices in September, according to Reuters, after a nonprofit called “Together We Fight Society” filed a complaint. In the filler, the group claims that Apple’s commissions on in-app payments raise prices for app developers, then create barriers to market entry, and to users.

“The existence of the 30% commission means that some app developers will never make it to the market… It could also cause harm to consumers,” Together We Fight Society claimed in its complaint, which was seen by Reuters but not public .

In addition, the nonprofit also argues that Apple’s policies are hurting payment processors in India, which charge much lower commissions than the major tech company.

Apple would have asked the committee to drop the nonprofit’s case, according to TechCrunch, because it was too small a player in India. It does have a point. Out of 520 million smartphones in India by the end of 2020, only 2% were Apple devices, according to global industry analysis firm Counterpoint Research. Yet Apple fast growing in the country.

If India turns out to be investigating Apple, it could join a growing number of countries, including the US, in the… box office success Epic vs Apple case — who investigate or outright regulate the company’s payment system. Last week, the Netherlands ordered the company to allow dating app developers to offer users alternative payment options, a decision that Apple will appeal, or risk a $56.5 million fine.

In Asia, South Korea passed a law this year that prohibits Apple and Google from forcing developers to use their in-app payment systems. Meanwhile, Japan reached an agreement with Apple that allows reader apps, including magazines, newspapers, books, music, and videos, to have a single external link to alternative payment options.

Gizmodo reached out to Apple for comment on Friday to confirm whether it was under investigation by the Indian competition authority and to request comment on the matter, but we heard nothing back at the time of publication. We’ll make sure to update this article when we do.


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