The European Commission has launched a fresh offensive against Apple. She accuses the American company of violating EU antitrust rules by eliminating competition for streaming music. Apple allegedly forces producers of such content to use its App Store payment system, which charges a 30% subscription fee.
Brussels is investigating a complaint from the music streaming service Spotify, but other companies are also involved.
“We are concerned that Apple’s rules are negatively affecting its competitors by increasing costs, reducing their profit margins, and diminishing their attractiveness on the Apple platform,” said European Commissioner for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager. “Apple’s terms affect all music streaming providers that work with Apple Music, particularly smaller ones like Deezer or Soundcloud”.
Apple denies the new allegations and even says it was instrumental in the development of Spotify. In a press release, the company said about European regulators:
“They want to take full advantage of the App Store again, but they don’t think they have to pay anything for it. The European Commission’s argument for Spotify is the opposite of fair competition”.
It’s a “big day” for the Swedish company Spotify, its CEO said on Twitter, welcoming the European Commission’s announced action against Apple. “We’re getting closer to creating a level playing field that is so important to the entire European developer ecosystem.”
Four years ago, the European Commission already fined Apple 14 billion euros for illegal tax breaks in Ireland. Now the American company faces a fine and an urgent demand to change its policy.