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Apple comes under CCI scanner

PTI     June 21, 2011
iPhone and iPad maker Apple Inc has come under the scanner of the Competition Commission of India for allegedly limiting the availability of its products to a few service providers using its dominant market position.

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A customer has filed a complaint before the Commission under section 4 of the Competition Act 2002 that Apple is curbing the customer's choice by limiting the availability of iPhones and iPads in India to a limited number of service providers, besides its signature stores.

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At present, iPhone's latest version is available in India through Aircel and Bharti airtel, while the iPads are sold through Apple store only.

An Apple official when contacted declined to comment.

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"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.

Besides, Apple phones could only be serviced in Apple centres, which in turn charge high rates for servicing.

The Commission is due to take up the matter for consideration by the end of this week, sources said.

iPhone, the touch screen handset that acquired a cult status in the US and other western countries, was launched for the first time in India in 2008. Following the launch, the new upgrades have also been introduced in the Indian market.

Smartphones are catching up fast in the Indian market, especially at a time more companies roll out 3G services across the country. 3G services, which offer high-speed Internet access, have already been rolled out by various operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Aircel.

According to a CyberMedia Research study, about 12 million smartphones are expected to be sold in India during 2011.

The Commission, which became fully functional in 2009, with the appointment of a chairman and six members, has the power to check anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, drawn from Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.

Beginning June 2011, the Commission also received powers to check high-voltage mergers and acquisitions, with the notification of section 5 and 6 of the Act.



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