Google and Apple accused of uncompetitive behaviour in Mexico

Google and Apple accused of uncompetitive behaviour in Mexico

There may be more regulatory issues for the online giants to deal with, this time in Mexico where Google and Apple have been the target of accusations of uncompetitive behaviour.

The complainant was Mony de Swaan Addati, the former head of the Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel). The complaint was made to regulator El Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT), which replaced Cofotel in 2013.

The IFT is an autonomous body which aims to promote and regulate competition and efficient development of telecommunications and broadcasting in Mexico.

According to Reuters, de Swaan Addati accuses Apple and Google of inhibiting competition by "taking advantage of their monopoly in app stores to tie use of their own payment processing systems for in-app purchases”.

De Swaan Addati, now an independent consultant, has suggested that Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store charge 15%-20% commission, forcing price inflation.

It’s worth remembering that the complainant is no longer a member of a regulatory body. Indeed Mexico's competition regulator apparently declined the former Cofetel chief’s request to open an investigation into the companies. He therefore went to the IFT, saying he has full confidence that it will investigate and exercise its powers.

Does the complaint have merit? We’ll have to see how the IFT responds, but Google is undoubtedly a dominant player in the country; Android is said to have the largest market share in Mexico, with close to 80% penetration.

Nor is this the only accusation levelled at Google and Apple in recent months. The US Department of Justice has already sued Google for abuse of its dominant position in the digital advertising market. Apple meanwhile has been targeted by French app developers over its App Store fees; the developers claim they have been overcharged.

Also, as we reported last week, Apple recently received a ban from Brazilian authorities which prevented it from selling iPhones without a charger, calling it a "deliberate discriminatory practice against consumers". Apple plans to appeal.

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