Apple in Breach of EU Competition Law, European Commission Finds

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.

European Commisssion
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, Margrethe Vestager, the EU's digital competition chief tweeted the preliminary findings of the commission:

Apple has been formally told of the conclusion, according to an EU Commission press release.

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 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.

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.

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 was 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.

The EU is expected to issue Apple with a charge sheet before the summer. It is not yet known what exactly the EU's sanctions 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.

The Spotify antitrust case is one of several opened by the European Commission into Apple's business practices in June last year. 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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Top Rated Comments

vagos Avatar
42 months ago
The EU is right on this one. Time for Apple to change.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bollman Avatar
42 months ago
This is easily fixed by Apple: allow Spotify to link to their website for payment.
I’d like apple to explain how that would be a bad thing.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DinkThifferent Avatar
42 months ago
Well record companies also had to pay music stores to have their cd's displayed... A-brand cornflakes is also payed for by the manufacturer to be displayed on the shelf next to the Walmart cornflakes.

You can subscribe to Spotify through their website.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
diamond3 Avatar
42 months ago
Isn’t there always going to be some advantage? What’s the solution? Because Apple has their own service, they can’t charge Spotify a fee to put their service on the App Store?

Where does this end? I’m in the position that Apple should have an advantage because they created the platform.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheMacDaddy1 Avatar
42 months ago

The EU is right on this one. Time for Apple to change.
Or figure out how Netflix is so successful on the App store. All payments to my Netflix account do not go through Apple and yet I watch Netflix content exclusively on Apple devices. My Kindle app on my iPad is full of books I never bought through Apple either. I would assume that most Spotify customers would do the same, sign up on the website and then use the apps on various platforms.

At most Apple should make it easier for you to jump from the app to a website to pay for Spotify.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustMartin Avatar
42 months ago
It's ironic that Spotify are complaining about losing money when they've been gouging musicians for years.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)