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."

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

vagos Avatar
37 months ago
The EU is right on this one. Time for Apple to change.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bollman Avatar
37 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
37 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
37 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
37 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
37 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)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18? Here's What the Latest Rumor Says

Thursday February 29, 2024 7:29 am PST by
iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are still over three months away from being unveiled, but we may already know which devices will be compatible with the updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, meaning that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR from 2018 will remain supported for at least another year, according to information shared this week by a source with a...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

OLED iPad Pro's Thin Design Highlighted in CAD Drawings

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:22 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new version of the iPad Pro that is set to launch as soon as March, and the refresh will mark the biggest design update to the Pro lineup since 2018. Apple is transitioning to OLED displays, and the swap will allow for a major change to the overall thickness of the device. CAD drawings of the upcoming ~11-inch and ~13-inch iPad Pro models give us some insight into just...