Apple Could Face Investigation in India Over App Store In-App Purchase System

  • General

Apple could be facing a widespread investigation into the App Store in India, and more specifically, the company’s in-app purchasing system, which grants it a 15% to 30% commission for all purchases made, reports Reuters.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which oversees cases of possible anti-competitive and antitrust behavior, is reviewing an antitrust challenge case against Apple presented by a non-profit Indian group. The group claims, in their case, that Apple’s standard 30% commission for in-app purchases “hurts competition” since it raises costs for both the developer and the customer.

“The existence of the 30% commission means that some app developers will never make it to the market … This could also result in consumer harm,” said the filing, which has been seen by Reuters.

Apple has already faced countless similar cases worldwide, including in the European Union and by developer groups in the United States. In its current stage, the case is not prompting a more exhaustive investigation by the Indian government. Instead, Reuters says that it will be reviewed by the CCI in the coming weeks, possibly leading to a probe.

The group behind the case is ultimately asking for Apple to allow third-party payment methods into its app, allowing developers to bypass its 15% to 30% commission. The new case was reported just hours after Apple announced that, beginning sometime next year, it will allow “reader” apps to link users to external websites for purchases.

The new policy change is the second of just the past few weeks. Last week, Apple conceded to allow developers to email users about payment methods available outside of their apps. However, the new changes stop short of not requiring developers to use the company’s proprietary in-app purchasing system and instead allows them to just add a clearly distinguished link to an external website for payment.