In response to a complaint from competitor Spotify, the European Union Commission accused Apple of misusing a dominant position in its music-streaming services. According to a preliminary assessment, the European competition watchdog considers that Apple is disrupting competition in Europe at the expense of competitors and customers, the authority said Friday in Brussels.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Due to the App Store’s strict rules over competing streaming music services, Apple is denying users the choice to use cheaper services.” In the letter of complaint it sent to Apple, the committee complains that competitors have to pay a high fee per transaction in the App Store. In addition, the US group is preventing competitors from informing Apple device users of cheaper alternatives.
Notification is an initial stage of a cartel fine, which can be as high as ten percent of the relevant annual turnover. The European Union Commission took action on a complaint about the music streaming service Spotify two years ago. Spotify had complained that the US company was anti-competitive in keeping competitors away from accessing Apple’s music streaming service and was charging 30 percent of app developers for purchases. Apple announced in March 2019 that Spotify had used hundreds of millions of downloads from the App Store, making it the largest music streaming service in Europe.
This case is one of the four European Union competition watchdogs against Apple that was inaugurated in June of last year. The committee is also studying the rules in the App Store for competing e-books and audiobooks as well as the terms of Apple Pay’s payment functionality. The American Group now has the opportunity to comment on the complaint and grant concessions. Only then will the decision be made regarding the fine. (Reuters)