The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is investigating the Apple App Store and Google Play Store after multiple developers complained that Apple and Google’s in-app payment policies are too restrictive and commissions are too high, among various other complaints. As part of these investigations, here are some questions we think the CCI should consider. These questions were initially posed by the United States Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of its report on competition in the mobile app ecosystem in the US, but have been slightly adapted for the Indian context. Questions around definitions and scope How to measure whether the app ecosystem is competitive? How should the “success” of an app be measured? How should the “failure” of an app be measured? Does the reported total of the number of apps available at any one time in an app store have bearing on the state of competition among apps or particular categories of apps? Are there any important entities mistakingly omitted (or included) because of the chosen definitions of relevant markets? If so, how should this study be scoped so that it is optimal but feasible? For example, should mobile apps offered specifically for enterprise use (e.g., for use by businesses, not for consumers) be considered in this study? Apps are not all the same. For example, some have different technical features and capabilities (e.g., location-based apps compared to messaging apps), while others are bound by specific regulatory guardrails (e.g., banking apps or children's apps). In the context of framing competitiveness within the…
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