EU Prepares to Charge Apple in Antitrust Dispute With Spotify

EU regulators are in the process of finalizing a charge sheet against Apple, initiated by an antitrust complaint from Spotify (via Reuters).

European Commisssion

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."

In particular, Spotify highlighted that Apple's 30 percent 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.

It is proposed that this gives Apple an "unfair advantage," since Spotify is unable to fairly compete with Apple Music's standard $9.99 per month price within the ‌‌App Store‌‌. If Spotify chooses not to collect payments via the ‌‌App Store‌‌, Apple purportedly "applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions" on the company. It is also said that Apple was "locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch," thereby making ‌Apple Music‌ a more attractive option for subscribers.

In what appears to be a significant advancement in the antitrust case, Apple looks to be hit with charges by the European Commission, suggesting that the company has likely been found to have conducted itself anti-competitively and violated the EU's antitrust rules. The EU is now actively preparing a charge sheet against Apple, according to sources speaking to Reuters, which may be sent to the company before the summer.

The Spotify antitrust case is one of several opened by the European Commission into Apple's business practices last year in June last year, including similar cases from the likes of Kobo-owner Rakuten. It is not yet known what exactly the EU's charges could involve, but it has been suggested that Apple could be forced to pay a fine or make changes to its ‌App Store‌ business model in Europe to foster greater competition.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

ForkHandles Avatar
16 months ago
It’s great that we have institutions who can investigate practices of large corporations.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
16 months ago
I can buy an eBook on Amazon, and read it on my iPad Kindle one instant later. No Apple-Tax.

I subscribed to one year of Babbel on their website. No Apple tax, Babbel working great on my iPad.

Why can’t Spotify do the same?

If you want a platform, go build your own, like Apple did betting the house on the iPhone.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Art Mark Avatar
16 months ago
No matter if you believe there is an issue or not with Apple's current set-up, what I don't understand is what the courts want Apple to do? Apple has - according to the angry software companies, no right to charge anything for access to their devices or their customers. It must all be free, and allow for any system any developer wants to establish. But this doesn't work in any other commercial setting. Try selling at a craft fair, you get charged for a table. Try getting your product into Walmart, you give Walmart discounts (they DEMAND discounts greater than wholesale) and Walmart may decide not to carry your product - end of story. Even grocery stores in the US have 'house brands' that are cheaper and often replace other brands on the shelf. Why is this marketplace any different? I have no skin in this game. But their does seem to be some wishful thinking when it comes to thinking marketplaces have no barrier to entry and that your 'right' to sell can never face any kind of fee or cost on a platform or place.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
calzon65 Avatar
16 months ago
I wish Apple allowed an alternative to load applications on IOS (not developer mode). Yes, this could expose users to malicious applications that could cause them harm, but users could still chose to only load applications from the Apple store. We can load any application we want on MacOS, Windows or Linux, ... just not IOS.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
betterbegood Avatar
16 months ago
It's a fair complaint. With Apple having their own music streaming service has no reason to treat Spotify fairly. I don't know what the end result would logically look like but there is definitely a conflict of interest in the current setup.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattspace Avatar
16 months ago
"but iOS isn't the majority of the smartphone market, how can they be charged with antitrust abuse of monopoly power, when they're only a minority player - Spotify should just go to Android if they don't agree to Apple's terms, because Apple made the iOS market and they set the rules"

welcome to "competition policy doesn't work the way you think it does".
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Upcoming EU Sideloading Bill Would 'Cripple the Privacy and Security Protections' iPhone Users Expect, Says Apple

Thursday March 17, 2022 10:38 am PDT by
The European Union is set to introduce new legislation as soon as this month that would significantly affect how the App Store operates in Europe, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Digital Markets Act has been in development for some time and the finalized version that could be completed as soon as this month will allow for sideloading and alternate app store options. Apple will be...
European Commisssion

Apple in Breach of EU Competition Law, European Commission Finds

Friday April 30, 2021 3:39 am PDT by
Apple has been found to be in breach of EU competition law with Apple Music, according to the preliminary findings of the European Commission. The charges relate to a two-year-old antitrust dispute initiated by Spotify. The European Commission was expected to bring charges against Apple over concerns that its App Store rules break EU competition law this week, and ahead of a formal verdict,...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Apple to Collect 27% Commission on Third-Party App Payment Systems in the Netherlands

Friday February 4, 2022 3:16 am PST by
Apple says it will take 27% commission on purchases made in dating apps through third-party payment options in the Netherlands, in compliance with a Dutch regulatory ruling. In an update on its developer support site, Apple said it would collect 27% commission instead of its usual 30% on transactions made in dating apps that use alternative payment methods. Apple says the decreased...
Apple vs Spotify feature2

Apple Music Is the World's Second Most Popular Music Streaming Service Behind Spotify

Thursday January 20, 2022 2:38 am PST by
Apple Music is the second most popular music streaming service globally, but remains far behind Spotify in its continuing quest for streaming dominance, according to new market research. According to a new report by Midia Research, Apple Music subscribers made up 15% of all streaming service listeners in the global market in the second quarter of 2021, placing it in a distant second place...
wrap up 3 homepod spotify 1

Spotify Users Growing Impatient and Canceling Subscriptions Over Lack of Native HomePod Support

Monday November 22, 2021 10:39 am PST by
Spotify users are growing impatient with the music streaming giant over its lack of HomePod support, pushing several customers to the brink of canceling their subscriptions entirely and moving to alternative platforms, such as Apple Music. More than a year ago, at the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced that it would be adding third-party music service support to HomePod. A ...
app store blue banner spotfiy

Spotify Calls Apple's App Store Restrictions 'An Abusive Power Grab'

Wednesday April 21, 2021 4:24 pm PDT by
At an App Store antitrust hearing that took place today, Spotify and Match Group (the company behind Tinder) accused Apple of abusing its App Store powers to to disadvantage rival services, reports Bloomberg. Spotify chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said that Apple's rules are "nothing more than an abusive power grab." "Apple abuses its dominant position as a gatekeeper of the App Store...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Still Doesn't Offer AirPlay 2 Nearly Six Months After Last Promising to Support the Feature

Tuesday January 25, 2022 7:49 am PST by
Spotify has still not enabled AirPlay 2 in its iPhone and iPad app, nearly six months after last promising to support the feature. "Spotify will support AirPlay 2 and we're working to make that a reality," a Spotify spokesperson informed MacRumors in early August, in response to a Spotify Community forum post that said the company had paused plans to support the feature. The streaming...
Apple vs Spotify feature2

Spotify Executive Justifies Antitrust Pressure on Apple and Calls for Other App Store Payment Providers

Tuesday June 1, 2021 9:05 am PDT by
Spotify executive Horacio Gutierrez has explained in a wide-reaching interview with The Verge why the company believes Apple is a "ruthless bully" and what it would like to see change. Last month, Gutierrez penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that chastised Apple and some of its business practices. Now, Spotify's head of global affairs and chief legal officer has expanded on the logic ...

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...