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Apple blames business rivals for India App Store antitrust filing

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Apple has filed to prevent an antitrust investigation in India, by telling the regulator it isn't big enough in the country to abuse its market power, at the same time as saying that the complaint was instigated by critics of App Store policies.

In September, Apple became the subject of an antitrust complaint filed to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), under allegations it was abusing the market due to forcing developers to use the App Store's in-app payment mechanism. In an attempt to fend off the investigation, Apple says it isn't big enough to even be classed as dominant in that particular market.

The filing, seen by Reuters on Sunday, has Apple claiming its market share is "insignificant" at between 0% and 5% of the total market. Meanwhile, the Google-controlled Android is used by over 90% of smartphones in the region.

"Apple is not dominant in the Indian market," said the November 16 submission by Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer. "Without dominance, there can be no abuse."

The filing adds "It has already been established that Google is the dominant player in India," referencing a September report by the CCI that found Google was acting in an anticompetitive way in India.

The original filing by the non-profit Together We Fight Society accused Apple of dominating the market for non-licensable mobile operating systems. Apple counters that the entire smartphone market should be considered, including the licensable Android.

The relatively unknown group is also attacked by Apple in the filing, with the iPhone maker proposing the complaint was a "proxy filing" and that it was "likely acting in concert with parties with whom Apple has ongoing commercial and contractual disputes globally and/or that have complained to other regulators."

That list can include Epic Games, Tile, Spotify, and many others who have criticized Apple's App Store policies, including its well-known 30% transaction fee.

Together We Fight Society told Reuters it believes the comment was "made to prejudice the mind" of the CCI "without any iota of proof." Apple reportedly did not include evidence of its "proxy filing" claim.

The CCI is still determining whether or not to undertake a full investigation into the complaint, and could make that decision within weeks.