“The ICC decision on Apple may not be as severe as in the case of Google”

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NEW DELHI : The Indian Competition Commission’s (ICC) ruling in the antitrust case against Apple may not be as harsh as the ruling against Google, competition lawyers have said. The tech giant, which is facing an ICC antitrust complaint over its App Store business practices, could make similar arguments to those it made in the landmark anticompetitive lawsuit against games company Epic Games in the United States. United States to avoid similar regulatory sanctions and orders. at Google in India.

As Google faces a 936 crore penalty for its Play Store billing policies, Apple might be able to avoid the penalties as it does not have a licensed operating system. In fact, CCI said there is a difference between Apple and Google’s ecosystems as Google imposes its own billing system on app developers selling services and digital items on the Play Store.

In its order last week, CCI said Google’s practice of mandating the use of its own Play Store billing methods to earn commissions was anti-competitive under India’s competition laws. The ICC imposed a fine of 936 crore and asked Google to open its billing ecosystem to third-party carriers within 90 days of ordering. Google should challenge the TCC order.

“In its investigative order to Apple, CCI had stated that if a developer wanted to reach Apple’s user base, the App Store was the only way. Once on it, all Apple policies are binding. Thus, Unless Apple can justify this restriction and demonstrate security, privacy, or other factors compelling enough to show that the App Store is pro-consumer enough to outweigh the restrictive market effects, they likely will face the same future,” said a competition lawyer. said requesting anonymity.

During the Epic Games trial, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, testified in court that its Mac desktop operating system, which enabled download sources and billing methods third parties, was much more prone to cyber breaches of all kinds. . This, according to the executive, is radically different for iOS and does not allow for other app download locations or third-party billing systems. Apple won the case and the judge said it did not engage in monopoly practices, although Apple was ordered to allow third-party payments on the App Store.

Apple will likely combine this argument with the fact that its market share in India is very small, the lawyer quoted above said. At the end of 2021, Apple held a 3.8% market share in India, according to market researcher International Data Corp. Apple could be trying to prove that its ecosystem amounts to a proprietary environment and isn’t interchangeable with Android devices, in part because its iPhones are more expensive. An Apple India official declined to comment.

“In the smartphone space, the key thing to note is that despite having different software ecosystems, if two devices are interchangeable to a consumer, they may very well belong to the same domain. Along with this factor, Apple may try to show that the interchangeability between iPhones and an Android device is not similar,” the attorney said.

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