The investigation joins a series of global regulatory actions against US tech companies
Watchdog was responding to a complaint by an Indian non-profit group early last year alleging that Apple charges developers a 30% fee for selling digital content through its apps and harms software makers. and affects competition. Apple has denied the claims, saying it is focused on making its devices as attractive to consumers as possible, according to the order.
The watchdog said on Friday that a report should be completed in the next 60 days. It did not say what could happen if Apple is found to be violating the country’s antitrust rules. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on Monday.
Companies including Apple, Alphabet Inc. Of
Google and Meta Platform Inc. Of
Facebook has faced formal regulatory scrutiny, charges or fines over the past two years in various cases filed by the European Union and countries such as the US, UK, France and Germany. The companies have denied wrongdoing.
App stores, such as Apple’s and Google’s Play Store, have become attractive portals for tech companies to reach billions of consumers around the world.
The European Union filed charges against Apple last year over its App Store rules, saying the company undercut competition by requiring certain apps to use Apple’s in-app payment system. Last month, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, the country’s competition regulator, said Apple’s policies for in-app payments broke the country’s competition law. It ordered Apple to adjust its rules, although its order has been suspended in a Dutch court.
In the US, Apple received relief from a US appeals court last month in implementing changes to its App Store ordered by a federal judge as part of its antitrust battle with Epic Games Inc. A federal judge previously said Apple should loosen its restrictions on how developers can demand payment.
And in the world’s first bill to challenge the dominance of Apple and Google about how apps on their platforms sell digital goods, South Korea allowed large app-store operators to use only their own devices for in-app purchases of games and other content. Stopped from offering its own payment platform. Google responded by offering alternative in-app payment options, although the fees remain. Apple has told the South Korean government that its existing app-store policies already comply with the new law.
The iPhone maker has recently seen growth in India after struggling over the years to boost sales in the vast South Asian country’s market, which is dominated by cheap devices running the Android operating system.
According to research firm Canalys, Apple made notable gains last year, especially among high-end smartphones. The third quarter of 2021 had Apple’s highest quarterly shipments ever, and overall smartphone market share rose to 4.5%, up from 1.4% a year earlier.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in October that the company was generating significant revenue in emerging markets, citing India and Vietnam as bright spots. “We are optimistic about the future, especially as we see strong demand for our new products,” said Mr. Cook.
Counterpoint’s Tarun Pathak said Apple’s user base in India is relatively small, and any antitrust action could have limited financial implications, adding that developments would be closely monitored. He added that India is an important market as many developers building apps for local and global users are based in the country.
The Indian government is tightening rules on global tech companies in the country as they invest billions to reach consumers going online for the first time. New Delhi has implemented new e-commerce rules, new rules governing online discourse and asked Facebook for details on how it monitors and removes inflammatory content on its platform.
Indian Police visited Twitter last year Inc. Of
Office in New Delhi to investigate the company’s labeling of tweets of a ruling party spokesperson as misleading. Digital rights advocates criticized the police move.
Write Newley Purnell at [email protected]