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
15 months ago
The EU is right on this one. Time for Apple to change.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bollman Avatar
15 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
15 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
15 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
15 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
15 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)

Related Stories

app store blue banner uk fixed

Apple Clashes With UK Regulator in Fierce Response to Warning That Could Require It to 'Redesign the iPhone'

Friday March 11, 2022 9:04 am PST by
Apple has aggressively defended its ecosystem in a newly-published response to the UK's competition watchdog. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today published Apple's response to its Interim Report on mobile ecosystems, as well responses from dozens of other companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Epic Games. The detailed 47-page response from Apple aggressively...
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...
European Commisssion

EU Likely to Charge Apple With Anti-Competitive Behavior This Week

Tuesday April 27, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
The European Commission will this week bring charges against Apple over concerns that its App Store rules break EU competition law, reports the Financial Times. The charges relate to a two-year-old antitrust dispute with Spotify. Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition chief, will late this week publicly issue charges against Apple over concerns that the rules it sets for developers on its...
spotify hifi still waiting

Spotify Still Can't Say When Its Delayed 'HiFi' Streaming Service Will Launch

Monday January 10, 2022 2:08 am PST by
Spotify users waiting to learn when the service's delayed "HiFi" premium audio service will materialize currently remain none the wiser, after the company responded noncommittally to requests for more information on its user community forums. Back in February, Spotify announced plans to introduce a "HiFi" premium tier by the end of 2021. According to Spotify, the feature will offer...
european parliament

EU Provisionally Agrees on Law That Would Force Apple to Allow Alternative App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

Friday March 25, 2022 4:46 am PDT by
European lawmakers have provisionally agreed upon a new law that would force Apple to allow user access to third-party app stores and permit the sideloading of apps on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive. The European Council and European Parliament said on Friday they had reached a political agreement on the...
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...
General App Store South Korea Feature Feature

Apple's Proposal to Allow Third-Party Payment Methods in App Store 'Lacks Detail,' Says South Korean Regulatory Commission

Thursday February 3, 2022 2:36 am PST by
Apple's plans to allow developers to use third-party alternative payments methods within their apps in South Korea "lacks concrete detail," according to South Korea's Communications Commission (KCC). In August, South Korea passed a law that bans app store operators from requiring developers to use their in-app purchase systems. Last month, Apple submitted its compliance plans to the KCC that ...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Apple Says Tile Trackers Sold Poorly in Apple Stores

Friday May 14, 2021 4:53 am PDT by
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products." Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance...

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...