App StoreSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • An industry group in India has released a new App Store study.
  • The Alliance of Digital India Foundation claims that both Apple and Google have too much power.
  • They say that there is an "urgent need" for more competition and improved choices for developers and consumers.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation has today released its landscape study of the app store market, claiming that there is an "urgent need" to address how much power Apple and Google have over app store commissions and distribution.

The group, an industry body for India's digital startups, has released its 'Towards Regulating App Stores' report generated by ADI and The Quantum Hub.

The ADIF and the report are a staunchly "pro-regulation" group, noting in a press release today:

Several Indian developers have objected to the quantum of the commissions, and the lack of choice in picking a payments system, terming the proposed policy unreasonable. The monopolistic policies of the app stores and their abuse of market power are forcing unfavourable terms on developers, who are left with no choice but to comply.

The conclusion of today's report states that Google and Apple "by virtue of their dominant position and lack of interoperability" have created "siloed monopolies" on iOS and Android "which allows them to unilaterally impose contract terms" leaving developers with no alternative for distribution and a "take it or leave it" choice.

The report claims there is an "urgent need" to "ensure fair competition and improve choices for both developers and consumers."

Noting the specific issue of app store commissions, the report claims it is hard to determine what a fair rate of commission is "due to the absence of competition in the market".

Both Apple and Google are being investigated by India's Competition Commission (CCI), and ADIF is a party to the probe. The report cautions that legislation to tackle the issue will present its own set of challenges and that laws should be flexible so as to account for emerging new business models and developments in the digital sector so as not to constrain innovation.

Marking the report's release, ADIF's Executive Director Sijo Kuruvilla George said "the dominant position enjoyed by the gatekeepers of the app ecosystem can severely hurt competition and innovation in the market, while also adversely affecting the ecosystem in many ways. It's thus commendable that legislators are taking notice of such issues and actively taking steps to address the anti-competition practices of big players. The need of the hour is a balanced approach."