The Strategist

European Commission accuses Apple of breaching antitrust laws

05/03/2021 - 02:20

The European Commission found that Apple has abused its dominant position in distributing music streaming apps through the App Store. The agency believes that the company was imposing rules on its app shop to the detriment of competitors. Two years ago, Swedish music streaming service Spotify complained about unequal terms with Apple Music in the App Store.

The gist of the complaint was that Apple had imposed a 30% commission on the placement of streaming apps in the App Store, which caused subscription prices of Apple Music's competitors to rise. Spotify decided to stop selling subscriptions through Apple's shop and do so on its website, but Apple has banned users from being informed of alternative offers.

"The Commission has provisionally found that Apple has a dominant market position in the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store. For app developers, the App Store is the only access to consumers who use Apple devices running on the iOS system. Apple devices and software form a 'closed ecosystem' where Apple controls every aspect of user interaction with the iPhone and iPad," the European Commission said in a statement. The Commission objects to the obligation imposed on app developers to use Apple's engine.

In 2019, music streaming service Spotify complained to the European regulator that it had to pay a 30% commission to the US corporation on each purchase, while other companies offering physical goods or services were not burdened with this "tax". In the summer of 2020, the European Commission announced that it was launching an antitrust investigation into Apple.