EU Likely to Charge Apple With Anti-Competitive Behavior This Week

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The European Commission will this week bring charges against Apple over concerns that its App Store rules break EU competition law, reports the Financial Times. The charges relate to a two-year-old antitrust dispute with Spotify.

European Commisssion

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, will late this week publicly issue charges against Apple over concerns that the rules it sets for developers on its App store break EU law, according to several people with direct knowledge of the announcement.

In 2019, Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission, alleging that Apple enforces ‌App Store‌ rules that “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience,” accusing the company of “acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”

Spotify highlighted that Apple’s 30% commission on ‌‌App Store‌‌ purchases, including in-app subscriptions, forces the music streaming service to charge existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan on the ‌‌App Store‌‌, just to collect the $9.99 per month it usually charges.

Spotify argues this gives Apple an unfair advantage because it’s unable to compete with Apple Music‘s standard $9.99 per month price within the ‌‌‌App Store‌‌‌.

The Spotify antitrust case is one of several opened by the European Commission into Apple’s business practices in June last year. It’s not yet known what the EU’s charges could involve, but Apple could be forced to pay a fine or make changes to its ‌‌App Store‌‌ business model in Europe to foster greater competition.

Last month, Reuters reported that EU regulators were in the process of finalizing a charge sheet against Apple in related to Spotify’s antitrust complaint, while FT‘s sources warned that the timing of the charge could still slip. Apple has denied allegations of anti-competitive behavior, and said at the time of Spotify’s complaint that its rival was using “its financial motivations in misleading rhetoric.”

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