Payment policies of Google and Apple application stores with respect to mandatory use of their billing systems, and distribution of paid apps and in-app purchases affects the business of small Indian app developers and limits the choices for the end user, the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance observed in its December report ‘Anti-Competitive Practices of the Big Tech’. The panel noted that Big Tech app hosting platforms charge commissions as high as 30 percent for in-app purchases and subscription fees resulting in an “unsustainable business model” for others. These companies act as gatekeepers and exhibit the potential to enforce a large number of digital businesses to pay a certain percentage of commission through their policy changes with respect to billing and payment systems. “It would appear that Indian startups literally have to pay taxes to the Big Tech companies to run their digital business in India,” the Committee noted. Why it matters? The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been investigating antitrust charges against Google and Apple for their Play Store and App Store policies since 2020 and 2021. The Standing Committee’s observations on the issue are worth noting in the backdrop of and to understand ways in which it may affect the ongoing cases against Google and Apple. Comments of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs: In their submission to the Committee on the issue, the ministry informed the following: High fees charged by companies such as Google and Apple for paid apps or in-app purchases may increase the cost of…
Billing systems of Google and Apple app stores affect user choice: Parliamentary panel
High fees charged by companies such as Google and Apple for paid apps or in-app purchases may increase the cost of competitors of the Big Tech.
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