Apple accused of ‘anti-competitive’ enforcement policies

Apple has been accused of breaking EU competition rules over the way it runs its App Store.

The European Commission antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager, tweeted that “consumers are the losers”.

This relates to accusations made two years ago by the music streaming app Spotify, which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in the industry.

Apple faces a significant fine and could be forced to change its policy if its arguments fail to convince regulators.

Previously, he has denied any wrongdoing.

The case specifically examines how its App Store policies affect the streaming of music. The indictment was originally filed in 2019 by Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek, who said Apple “limits choice and stifles innovation.”

“Apple’s rules distort competition in the music streaming market by raising the costs of competing music streaming application developers. This in turn leads to higher prices for consumers for their in-app music subscriptions on iOS devices, ”said an EC statement.

In response, Apple said it receives no commission from 99% of Spotify subscribers.

“At the heart of this matter is Spotify’s request to be able to advertise alternative offers on their iOS application, a practice that no store in the world allows,” he said in a statement.

“Again, they want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they have to pay anything for it. The Commission’s argument on behalf of Spotify is the opposite of fair competition. “

Alexander Holland, head of content and strategy for music streaming platform Deezer, said he was satisfied with the Commission’s findings.

“This is an important step towards a fair competitive landscape where dominant market players like Apple must compete with independent companies like Deezer on quality of service, innovation and consumer experience, rather than artificially created barriers. and the absence of a level playing field. “

Previously, Ms Vestager had tweeted that the EC’s preliminary conclusion was that “Apple had violated EU competition law” and “was charging rivals high commissions in the App Store and banning them from informing about alternatives. “.

European and US regulators are conducting a series of ongoing investigations into Apple’s App Store, including to determine whether the 30% commission it charges for in-app purchases is fair.

Developers are increasingly frustrated with the so-called Apple tax.

Under pressure from developers and regulators, Apple has cut its commission rate to 15% for any developer who earns less than £ 1million in annual revenue.

A complaint was filed with the EC by e-commerce company Rakuten in March 2020, alleging that it was anti-competitive to charge a commission on e-books sold through the App Store while promoting its own Apple Books service. . This case will be examined separately.

Epic vs. Apple

Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has also filed a similar complaint amid an ongoing dispute with Apple over its 30% discount on in-app purchases.

This led to Apple removing the game from its App Store.

A legal case between the two opens in the United States next week and promises to reveal a lot about the inner workings of Apple. He will see testimony from Apple CEO Tim Cook and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

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