India may force Apple to allow third-party payment systems on the iPhone App Store

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India may force Apple to allow third-party payment systems on the iPhone App Store
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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is close to completing an investigation into the App Store — Apple’s app store — and the impact of its policies. If the organization understands that there is an imbalance in fair market competition, the company could be forced to allow third-party payment systems on the iPhone.

In India, investigations around the App Store have been taking place since September 2021. Now, according to a report in the newspaper Economic Times of India released this Wednesday (21), the process is almost concluded, and the parties involved in the case should be summoned to argue about the opinions soon.

(Image: Playback)

Industry experts say the CCI’s conclusions are likely to be in line with the requirements imposed on Google, which last year had to make changes to its billing policy after pressure from the antitrust body in India.

This means that the main requirement of the Indian antitrust body may be the inclusion of payment methods for apps and in-app purchases (made in applications, such as subscriptions and benefit packages) of third parties, so that developers are not subject to paying abusive commissions for using Apple’s system.

“Should CCI insist that Apple allow alternative payment methods to co-exist in its app store, the company’s ‘fenced garden’ will crumble,” a Delhi lawyer told the Economic Times of India. “That means they would have to allow others to work with their system, so this battle will be a long and arduous one for Apple.”

(Image: Playback)

Industry sources claim, on the other hand, that this policy could “harm the user experience” by opening up risks of breaching privacy and security. In most countries, Apple uses its own payment mechanism for purchases on iOS, causing developers to pay commissions of up to 30% of the amount spent by the user.

Recently, big tech has started making third-party payment systems available in some countries that have imposed new rules, such as the Netherlands and South Korea.

Another issue evaluated in countries that are rigorous in market competition is the possibility of including third-party application stores in the iPhone’s operating system. Rumors indicated that iOS 17 would be a more “open” launch to third-party proposals, but so far, Apple has not commented on this possibility.

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(updated June 21, 2023 at 10:52 am)
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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise