Reuters reports that European Commission has imposed an additional charge against Apple in the investigation launched on Spotify’s complaint.
Last year in summer, the EU antitrust body sent Apple a charge sheet based on a complaint filed by Spotify, alleging that the tech giant charges a high 30% commission rate for in-app purchases on the App Store that puts third-party apps at a disadvantage. Under the antitrust laws, the Swedish music streaming service asked the EU Commission to implement fair rules that provide all apps a ‘level playing field’.
Reportedly, the European Commission finds new evidence against Apple in the music streaming investigation
According to the report, the iPhone maker is going to face a new charge by the European regulatory body in the coming week. It is explained that a new charge is filed when a new piece of evidence is found.
Apple faces an additional EU antitrust charge in the coming weeks in an investigation triggered by a complaint from Spotify, a person familiar with the matter said, a sign that EU enforcers are strengthening their case against the U.S. company.
Extra charges set out in a so-called supplementary statement of objections are usually issued to companies when the EU competition enforcer has gathered new evidence or has modified some elements to boost its case.
Having said that, it is not mentioned what this charge is. Maybe it is related to Apple’s anti-steering policy which is under scrutiny in the United States, Japan, Netherlands, and other countries. In 2019, founder and CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek demanded that Apple Music should be subjected to the same fair rules and restrictions as Spotify, consumers should have a choice of payment systems and not be “locked in” App Store payment system, and developers should be allowed to control communicate with consumers to market and promote their services.
Furthermore, the report mentions that the EU’s new regulatory rules under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) make the aforementioned policies illegal. But the tech giants have two years to alter their policies before the DMA goes into effect in 2024.
“The DMA is still two years away. The rules will probably apply to Apple at the beginning of 2024. This is why antitrust cases remain important,” said lawyer Damien Geradin at Geradin Partners, who is advising several app developers in other cases against Apple.
Companies found breaching EU antitrust rules face fines of as much as 10% of their global turnover and orders to ditch anti-competitive practices.
Currently, the tech giant only allows reader apps to add links to external websites for users to maintain accounts outside the App Store, and all other apps have to use App Store’s payment system which includes 15% – 30% commission for in-app purchases.