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India’s competition regulator orders investigation into Apple App Store policies

India’s competition regulator today ordered an investigation into the policies of Apple Inc.’s App Store, which have come under increasing antitrust scrutiny in recent years.

The Indian Competition Commission has reportedly decided to launch an investigation after provisionally determining that Apple had violated certain antitrust regulations. A report containing the findings of the investigation is expected to be prepared within the next 60 days.

At the center of the investigation are Apple’s policies regarding in-app purchases made through the App Store. Apple requires iOS developers to process in-app purchases using its own payment system, which charges up to 30% transaction fees. Developers who do not want to use the iPhone manufacturer’s payment system should use external sales channels such as e-commerce sites.

India’s Competition Commission has said it believes Apple’s policies “restrict the choice available to app developers to select a payment processing system of their choice,” TechCrunch reported today.

The survey would also cover certain other aspects of Apple’s business practices. The Indian Competition Commission has reportedly raised the question of whether the iPhone maker uses the data it collects on competitors’ users to “improve its own services”.

Apple rebuffed the allegations in a filing filed with the regulator last month and called for the case to be dismissed, according to Reuters. However, officials did not accept the company’s arguments, calling them “completely misguided.”

Apple’s in-app purchasing policies have also caught the attention of the European Union. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, this year bring formal antitrust charges against Apple for its policy that iOS developers process in-app purchases exclusively using its payment system. Officials have also raised concerns about restrictions the iPhone maker has placed on developers who do not use its payment system.

In addition, the British competition regulator spear its own survey of Apple’s business practices in March. One focus of the investigation is the purchasing policies in the iPhone manufacturer’s app. The regulator is also assessing whether Apple’s requirement that iOS apps be distributed exclusively through the App Store is anti-competitive.

Apple’s rival Google LLC is also coming under scrutiny for its business practices in the mobile phone market. The Competition Commission of India is investigate whether the search giant has unfairly promoted its Google Pay payment app to gain an edge over its competitors.

Photo: Unsplash

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