In a landmark move by European Union (EU) antitrust regulators, Apple has been charged with abusing its dominant position in the music-streaming market by imposing restrictive rules on the App Store.
The charges follow a 2019 complaint from music streaming platform Spotify, and carry a maximum penalty of up to 10% of Apple’s global annual turnover — what could amount to a multibillion-dollar fine.
This is the first time Apple has faced antitrust charges in the 27-member bloc, and the action represents one of a number of regulatory pressures on Apple globally that could lead to a change in the technology giant’s business model.
“By setting strict rules on the App store that disadvantage competing music streaming services, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming choices and distorts competition,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s head of both competition and digital policy, on Friday.
“This is done by charging high commission fees on each transaction in the App store for rivals and by forbidding them from informing their customers of alternative subscription options,” Vestager added.
MacDailyNews Take: You know, because when Sony sells TVs in Best Buy, they’re allowed to place placards next to each unit that say the same unit is cheaper at Target, along with QR codes that launch Amazon’s app offering the exact same TV at a lower price.
Margrethe Vestager is a ditz.
(See also: Apple wins fight over $14.9 billion tax grab in blow to EU – July 15, 2020)
In a statement regarding the EU antitrust charges, Apple said:
Spotify has become the largest music-subscription service in the world, and we’re proud for the role we played in that. Spotify does not pay Apple any commission on over 99% of their subscribers, and only pays a 15% commission on those remaining subscribers that they acquired through the App Store.
At the core of this case is Spotify’s demand they should be able to advertise alternative deals on their iOS app, a practice that no store in the world allows. Once again, they want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they should have to pay anything for that. The Commission’s argument on Spotify’s behalf is the opposite of fair competition.