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 weeks ago
It’s great that we have institutions who can investigate practices of large corporations.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
16 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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)

Top Stories

macbook air orange

Apple Developing a Whole New Kind of MacBook Air

Monday June 21, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Apple is believed to be working on a completely new, high-end version of the MacBook Air, according to recent reports. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, has repeatedly discussed the company's work on a high-end MacBook Air. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and leaker Jon Prosser have also referred to a similar MacBook Air model. The high-end...
iOS 15 Users Underwhelmed Feature

Users Underwhelmed by iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Survey Suggests

Monday June 21, 2021 7:17 am PDT by
Users appear to be underwhelmed by Apple's upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates, according to the findings of a new survey by SellCell. The survey asked 3,000 iPhone and iPad users, evenly split between men and women, aged 18 or over in the United States, what they thought of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and the naming of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup. Over 50 percent of all of the survey's...
purple iphone 12 and 12 mini

iPhone 12 Mini Production Reportedly Ended Earlier Than Expected Due to Relatively Low Sales

Monday June 21, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Following widespread reports that the iPhone 12 mini has experienced poor sales performance, at least relative to other iPhone 12 models, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce today claimed that production of the device has already ended. According to TrendForce, the iPhone 12 mini "reached End-of-Life ahead of time" during the second quarter of 2021, suggesting that Apple will focus on selling ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Apple Updates Dark Sky Weather App With Apple Watch Improvements and More

Tuesday June 22, 2021 11:58 am PDT by
Apple today updated the Dark Sky weather app for the first time since November with improved VoiceOver support and other bug fixes and performance improvements. In addition, Dark Sky complications on the Apple Watch now update more frequently. The full release notes for Dark Sky version 6.8.6:• Improved VoiceOver support • Complications on Apple Watch update more frequently •...
iPhone 12 v Android 2020

Apple Executive Says Users Who Want App Sideloading Already Have That Option With Other Platforms

Wednesday June 23, 2021 5:07 am PDT by
Apple earlier today published a detailed report outlining in blatant terms the negative impact that sideloading would have on the iPhone and iPad, specifically calling out the impacts it would have on user privacy and security. Now, the company is continuing its PR push, with an executive noting in an interview that users who wish to sideload apps already have that option thanks to other...
iOS Spam Calendar Feature

iCloud Users Continue to Be Plagued by Calendar Spam

Monday June 21, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Despite previous attempts to put the situation at rest, some iCloud users continue to experience spam calendar invitations, causing their calendars to be filled with random events. The situation received widespread coverage in 2016, where Apple said that it was "actively working to address this issue" by "identifying and blocking suspicious senders." Victims are targeted in various ways. The ...
primeday2020 feature3

Amazon Prime Day: The Best Apple Deals

Monday June 21, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Amazon's annual Prime Day event has officially kicked off today, beginning 48 hours of discounts, offers, and tons of savings across Amazon's storefront. This includes everything from home electronics to clothing, jewelry, video games, movies, and much more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
iphone 13 lineup dummy models

iPhone 13 Dummy Models Depict Repositioned Camera Modules

Wednesday June 23, 2021 4:12 am PDT by
New alleged dummy models of the upcoming iPhone 13, shared by leaker Sonny Dickson on Twitter, depict a modified camera layout on the standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, with two lenses in a diagonal arrangement rather than the vertical arrangement seen on the iPhone 12 models. The dummy models generally line up with iPhone 13 schematics previously seen by MacRumors, which showed that the ...
iphone 13 yellow

TrendForce: iPhone 13 Lineup Will Remain Limited to Maximum 512GB of Storage

Monday June 21, 2021 6:33 am PDT by
Apple will likely unveil its next-generation "iPhone 12s" or "iPhone 13" lineup in around two and a half months from now, and ahead of time, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce has outlined its expectations for the devices. A summary of TrendForce's expectations:Apple will unveil four new iPhones in September, including a mini model, a standard model, and two Pro models. September is the...