Reuters reports that the EU antitrust commission is finalizing its charge sheet against Apple based on the complaint filed by Spotify, a Swedish music streaming service. People familiar with the matter tell the publisher that the EU regulators might send the document to Apple before summer.
In 2019, Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU commission claiming that its App Store policies, especially the 30% commission rate, are anti-competitive and designed to put third-party apps at a disadvantage. The music streaming service was asking the regulatory body to give all apps a ‘level playing field’ by implementing fair rules.
Along with Epic Games’ lawsuits, Apple might be defending itself at the EU commission in summer
After two years, the EU regulators have drafted their charge sheet against Apple’s App Store policies on Spotify’s complaint. In addition, the European regulatory body has opened four investigations against the Cupertino tech giant, and other Silicon Valley tech companies: Facebook, Google, and Amazon, to limit their overwhelming power and anti-competitive behavior. The report states,
EU antitrust regulators are finalising a charge sheet against Apple triggered by a complaint by Swedish music streaming service Spotify, two people familiar with the matter said, with one saying the document may be sent to the iPhone maker before the summer.
The EU competition enforcer usually sets out what it considers suspected violations of the bloc’s antitrust rules in its statement of objections, whether a fine is merited and what companies have to do to stop anti-competitive practices.
The founder and CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek wrote his demands in the blog post published in 2019,
- First, apps should be able to compete fairly on the merits, and not based on who owns the App Store. We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions—including Apple Music.
- Second, consumers should have a real choice of payment systems, and not be “locked-in” or forced to use systems with discriminatory tariffs such as Apple’s.
- Finally, app stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers.
Daniel further clarified that it was not a Spotify vs. Apple issue, but a fight to implement competition based on merits. Apple categorically denied all allegations of anti-competitive behavior and said that Spotify was presenting false information.
Now, by reducing its App Store commission rate from 30% to 15% for small developers and introducing a new feature in iOS 14.5 update which allows users to set third-party music apps as their default players, Apple has addressed the main grievances of the music streaming service. So, it will be interesting to see what charges the EU commission has levied against the Cupertino tech giant.