Unfair Apple, Google app store rules ‘choking’ innovation: ADIF


(IANS) The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) on Saturday hailed the decision by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to open an anti-trust investigation into Apple over its App Store business practises, saying that tech giants like Apple and Google are “choking innovation” via their unfair app store rules.

The Apple order, which came on Friday, follows another CCI probe into Google Play Store policies that may hamper third-party app developers and the entire ecosystem.

“Apple, alongside Google, has been maintaining a stranglehold on the app economy by imposing unfair rules on their respective application stores and choking innovation,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, the Executive Director of ADIF.

“There are a host of anti-competitive issues that plagues both their app marketplaces; the most vexing of them being the imposition of their own in-app billing systems on app owners: a clear case of abuse of their dominance,” George added.

According to the CCI order, Apple prohibits app developers from informing app users about the ability to purchase on the web.

“Thus, Apple prohibits app developers to include a button/link in their apps which take/steer the user to a third party payment processing solution other than Apple’s IAP (in-app purchase). This prima facie results in denial of market access for the potential app distributors/app store developers in violation of competition norms,” the order read.

According to the ADIF, the probe by CCI comes at a time where Apple is facing scrutiny from antitrust regulators in other geographies including the US.

“The observation by the CCI that anti-competitive restrictions on app developers and not end-users of Apple’s response is noteworthy and significant,” said the foundation.

In the Google Play Store investigation, the CCI has told Karnataka High Court that there will not be any precipitative action on the matter.

Amid the growing debate over its Play Store rules, Google earlier this week filed a writ in the high court, asking for more time to reply to the anti-trust investigation by the CCI.

The plea for interim relief against Google was filed by the ADIF in the CCI in October.

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