Another App Store antitrust investigation looms in India, says report

India is the latest country on a growing list of App Store scrutiny...

What you need to know

  • India is reportedly planning to investigate Apple's App Store.
  • It's over claims its in-app purchase model is anticompetitive.
  • It will also examine Apple's 30% rate of commission on some purchases.

A new App Store investigation is might be set to get underway in India, according to a new report.

From Reuters:

Apple Inc is facing an antitrust challenge in India for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the apps market by forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system, according to a source and documents seen by Reuters.

The report says the issues are very similar to those being looked at by the EU Commission, that is Apple's 30% rate of commission on some App Store transactions, and its requirement that developers use its own in-app purchase method. A case was reportedly filed by a "little-known, non-profit group" claiming the 30% fee hurts competition:

"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"

Unfortunately, the details of the case won't be made public because it's being reviewed by India's competition body, the Competition Commission of India. However, according to the report, the CCI will review the case to determine whether a larger probe is necessary, or if the case has any merit at all. A source told Reuters there is a "high chance" an investigation will occur because of the aforementioned cases in other countries.

It comes just hours after Apple announced that it making some major changes to its App Store worldwide in response to an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission:

Because developers of reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple agreed with the JFTC to let developers of these apps share a single link to their website to help users set up and manage their account.

The move will let apps like Netflix and Spotify redirect customers away from Apple's App Store to their own websites, letting them sign up without having to give up any of their fees to Apple. Until now, some services such as Netflix have simply offered no way to sign up on a mobile device so as to avoid this.

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