Apple comes under the CCI scanner in India when a customer filed a complaint against Apple under The Competition Act 2002 (amended in 2007) stating that Apple is restricting customers from buying apple products (iPhone) by making its availability for only a selected few carriers (Airtel and Aircel). The section 4 specifically deals with Abuse of dominant position.
Apple had announced the iPhone 4 for Airtel and Aircel customers last month, while the iPad is sold through Apple store only.
The complainant has also alleged that a user can only download software from the i-store and the others are not recognised by the device,a senior CCI official said.
The complaint also stated that the phone could be serviced in Apple centers only, which charge high rates for servicing. The Commission will look into the matter for consideration by the end of this week, sources said.
There are a few things the CCI must consider –
First of all, Airtel and Aircel are selling “unlocked” iPhones with optional offer i.e. you’re free to use it with any service provider you choose. Second, Apple products are sold not just by Apple Stores, but by various distributors – Croma, Imagine Stores and several others.
Finally, every manufacturer voids the products warranty if the device is serviced at unauthorized centers. Apple has 3rd party centers in India which operate with Apple to help with major issues.
Well, laws can get tricky. It all depends on the interpretation of the law. Apple will sure argue and explain how they operate in India, however they will definitely have a tough time fighting the case.