EU Announces Investigations into App Store In-App Purchase Rules and Apple Pay

The European Commission today said it has opened two formal antitrust investigations into Apple's App Store and Apple Pay mobile payment system.


The first investigation will assess whether Apple's rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the ‌App Store‌ violate EU competition rules.

It will focus in particular on the mandatory use of Apple's own in-app purchases system and restrictions on the ability of developers to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities outside of apps.

The investigation follows up on separate complaints by Spotify and ebook distributor Kobo on the impact of the ‌App Store‌ rules on competition in music streaming and e-books/audiobooks.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content. Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads. It appears that Apple obtained a 'gatekeeper' role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple's popular devices. We need to ensure that Apple's rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple's ‌App Store‌ rules and their compliance with EU competition rules."

The second investigation into ‌Apple Pay‌ follows a preliminary EC investigation that flagged concerns regarding Apple's terms, conditions, and other measures related to the use of ‌Apple Pay‌ that may distort competition and reduce choice and innovation. In addition, the EC notes that ‌Apple Pay‌ is the only mobile payment solution that can access the NFC "tap and go" technology embedded in Apple's devices for in-store payments.

Responding to the announcements, a spokesperson for Apple gave the following statement:

"We developed the ‌App Store‌ with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs and developers.

"We're deeply proud of the countless developers who've innovated and found success through our platform. And as we've grown together, we've continued to deliver innovative new services — like ‌Apple Pay‌ — that provide the very best customer experience while meeting industry-leading standards for privacy and security.

"It's disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don't want to play by the same rules as everyone else. We don’t think that's right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed."

There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end, and the duration of an antitrust investigation depends on a range of factors that can take years to work through, but the EC said it will carry out its investigations "as a matter of priority."

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
As much as I love my Apple gear, I can't say I blame the EU for this. It does feel that Apple do take advantage of this virtual monopoly, especially when it comes to charging 3rd party services the same 30% as it does for taking a cut of app costs.

Not so sure on the Apple Pay move though: if Apple should be forced to open the secure enclave used for Pay to 3rd parties then they might as well stop securing it.

Granted there may be ways to create multiple enclaves - perhaps they could charge each vendor an enclave cost (and something not cheap either) bit then that would probably preclude older devices and the EU still wouldn't be happy...
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
I must say that I am rather pleased to see the EU taking action on these issues, especially the first one.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america

That's totally irrelevant. A monopoly is a monopoly and the EU has every right to look into this. In fact, they'd be remiss not to.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america

lol and without developers creating apps, there wouldn’t be a successful App Store. People forget, that back in the early App Store days, Kindle was able to promote their store within the app before Apple decided to change the rules due to their release of iBooks.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america

And without all the developers there wouldn't be an App Store. It is not a one sided arrangement and every business needs oversight and rules to follow. If we don't have oversight we end up with fewer and fewer businesses(very un-American) and no way for new starts to even remotely take off. If it wasn't for the EU the whole internet would be built for IE only as that would be the only browser shipped by Microsoft.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago

Everyone forgets without apple there wouldn’t be a App Store, so Apple creates a business then is told how to tune their business, i guess that’s why people move to america

Businesses have to comply with the law pretty much anywhere, even in America.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop

Monday September 21, 2020 3:26 pm PDT by
With the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced two new band options, the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. These new bands are unique because they have no clasps, buckles, or other fasteners, and instead use a stretch design to allow them to pull onto the wrist over the hand. Because these bands are not adjustable, Apple sells each one in nine different sizes to make sure each person...

Apple Releases First Public Betas of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 With New Shazam Control Center Options

Monday September 21, 2020 10:34 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to its public beta testing group, a few days after seeding the first betas to developers and a little less than a week after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS‌ 14.2 updates over the air after ...

Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Sunday September 20, 2020 10:00 pm PDT by
Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics...

AirPods Studio Rumored to Come With U1 Chip, Ultra-Wideband Said to Be Vital to Future Apple Ecosystem

Sunday September 20, 2020 6:17 am PDT by
Proven leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared a range of information about the ultra-wideband U1 chip in Apple's upcoming AirTags item trackers and AirPods Studio headphones. The first of a series of tweets shared today simply stated that AirPods Studio will contain an ultra-wideband U1 chip. It seems likely that the U1 chip would be used in AirPods Studio to track the location of...

AT&T Already Working on 6G, Says 5G iPhones Might Not Be 'Massive Event' Due to Economic Uncertainty

Monday September 21, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming launch of 5G iPhones might not be a "massive event" due to economic uncertainty amid the global health crisis, AT&T Communications CEO Jeff McElfresh said in a paywalled interview published by CNBC. "I do believe that you will see many of the iPhone subscribers move to upgrade to the device," said McElfresh. "But I wouldn't forecast that it's going to be a massive event. I...

Microsoft Announces Outlook for Mac Redesign, Improvements to iOS and watchOS Apps

Tuesday September 22, 2020 8:56 am PDT by
Microsoft has today announced plans to bring a new design to its Outlook for Mac app along with several other improvements and features for Outlook on iOS and watchOS. In preparation for the public release of macOS Big Sur, Microsoft has been testing a new design for Outlook on Mac. The design includes Microsoft's Fluent icons and several design cues from Big Sur such as rounded corners....

iOS 14 Adoption Surpasses 25% Across iPhone and iPad Five Days After Release

Monday September 21, 2020 9:06 am PDT by
Five days after Apple released iOS 14, adoption of the software update has reached approximately 26 percent of active iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, according to mobile analytics company Mixpanel. This includes iPadOS 14. iOS 14 adoption appears to be outpacing iOS 13, which was installed on approximately 20 percent of active devices one week after its release last year, according to...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...