Apple: India sees ‘prima facia’ case of antitrust abuse

From Reuters’ “India’s antitrust body orders probe into Apple over alleged abuse of app market” posted Friday:

India’s competition watchdog on Friday ordered an investigation into Apple Inc’s business practices in the country, saying it was of the initial view that the iPhone maker had violated certain antitrust laws.

The order from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) comes after a non-profit group alleged this year that Apple was abusing its dominant position in the apps market by forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system.

“The Commission at this stage is convinced that a prima facie case is made out against Apple which merits investigation,” it said…

The company denied the allegations in a filing to the CCI last month, seen by Reuters, and asked the regulator to throw out the case, stressing that its market share in India was an “insignificant” 0-5%.

CCI however said in the order that Apple’s argument on its market share was “completely misdirected” as the allegations were about anti-competitive restrictions on app developers and not end-users.

My take: If regulators are going to define the market as iOS app developers, Apple has a 100% share in every country it operates and better watch its step.

10 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    What are the legal consequences of defining a market in terms of one company’s product? Will that withstand court review? And is it a reasonable interpretation?

    As is usual, the only people we know will benefit from this are the lawyers.

    2
    January 1, 2022
    • Rodney Avilla said:
      “And is it a reasonable interpretation?”

      It doesn’t have to be reasonable if it generates money for politicians who constantly are on the lookout for new revenue streams.

      2
      January 1, 2022
  2. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    If that’s the basis for prima facie, then Avis is guilty of monopolizing all their cars in its Avis rental market. It’s unfair to narrow down the market such that doy, it’s obviously no one is else is in that market.
    “Why can’t I buy HEB, Publix, or King Soopers lower priced items in this Whole Foods supermarket? Because Antitrust!!”

    5
    January 1, 2022
    • Gary Gouriluk said:
      “Yes! And Whole Foods must sell these products at zero markup!”

      Such ridiculous propositions by the same type of deep thinkers who bring us communism and religious fundamentalism. The courts used to protect us from this type of idiocy, but I fear that may no longer be the case.

      4
      January 1, 2022
  3. Michael Goldfeder said:
    This sounds similar to another phantom group just like the: “Coalition for App Fairness” funded by Epic and Microsoft:

    “The order from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) comes after a non-profit group alleged this year that Apple was abusing its dominant position in the apps market by forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system.”

    Another “Vestager” clone looking to regulate how consumers elect to pay for their “In App Purchases.” Consumers for the most part will continue to use the Apple payment system.

    4
    January 1, 2022
  4. Ken Cheng said:
    I hate it when the grocery stores force me to use their proprietary “in-store” purchasing system.

    Then again, according to India, the customer isn’t the one being “restricted” but the brands selling their cookies and fizzy drinks in the stores.

    2
    January 1, 2022
    • Steven Philips said:
      Buy your cookies online directly from Pepperidge farms. Pick them up at your local Safeway with no markup? I’m kinda liking this new direction! /s/

      4
      January 1, 2022
  5. Fred Stein said:
    New Year, same ole….

    So Prima Facie (I just looked it up) means ‘at first glance enough to warrant investigation and perhaps trial.”

    May we assert that having less than 1% of any market is, prima facie, not a monopoly?

    5
    January 1, 2022
    • Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
      On the face of it, yes, Apple’s a beauty mark to admire.
      Why pick on it?

      2
      January 1, 2022
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Fred: Very good. India is well known for highly restrictive practices such as locally sourced content/production requirements hence Apple’s production presence in the country. The country is thick with protectionist policies. I’m sure Apple is a least five steps ahead of efforts to force the company to open its App Store to other payment methods and Apple’s response will diminish any grand expectations there’s a windfall coming for developers aggressively pushing for their own payment systems. Apple has a right to be paid for use of its services including the App Store.

      0
      January 1, 2022

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