Following Spotify’s complaint that Apple was using the App Store to disadvantage other developers and service providers, Apple will be investigated by the European Commission.
A report in the Financial Times suggests that the European Commission, responsible for scrutinizing business competition in the region, will launch an antitrust investigation into Apple’s behavior, having already conducted meetings with consumers and businesses.
Back in March, Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against the company in the EU, and told regulators that Apple was enforcing rules to “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience,” referring to the percentage cut the company takes when a user signs up for a subscription using their App Store and iCloud account.
Apple has the upper hand
Remember that Spotify and Apple Music are today the world’s two biggest music streaming providers, but that Apple has the upper hand because it also owns the iOS ecosystem where both Spotify and Apple Music serve consumers.
Following Spotify’s complaint, Apple hit back and said that Spotify was using “misleading rhetoric” and that “Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free,” but it’s not the only complaint the company has received this year.
Just last week, Apple had to respond to backlash after several parental control apps were blocked or suspended on the App Store as they tried to compete with Apple’s own parental controls and Screen Time features.
Spotify argues that Apple should not charge a 30 percent fee on App Store purchases, as it means Spotify has to increase the price of their subscription to collect their standard charge.
Other companies, like Google, have upped the price of subscriptions on iOS, with YouTube Premium $5 more expensive when you subscribe within the YouTube iOS app compared with subscribing on the web.
Netflix, on the other hand, removed the ability to subscribe to its service on iOS – users have to sign up elsewhere so Netflix can collect the full subscription.
If the EU decides Apple is in the wrong, it could charge the Cupertino company up to 10 percent of its global turnover as punishment, though it’s important to note that the European Commission can take a long time to resolve issues, so don’t expect a quick resolution.
Keep it AppleMagazine for the latest on the Apple/Spotify fallout, as and when we get it.