Apple Faces Further Charges in EU Antitrust Case Triggered by Spotify

Apple will face additional antitrust charges in the European Union related to a music streaming probe triggered by a complaint from Spotify, Reuters reports.

european parliament
The charges are part of an ongoing investigation by the European Commission into accusations of anti-competitive conduct in the music streaming market from Spotify and suggest that the EU is strengthening its case against Apple amid growing scrutiny into big tech across the region.

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 April 2021, the investigation found Apple to be in breach of EU competition law. Apple 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."

An individual familiar with the matter speaking to Reuters said that the European Commission now intends to set out extra antitrust charges in a supplementary statement of objections, which are normally used when an EU competition enforcer has changed parts of its case or obtained new evidence. The additional charges will reportedly be issued in the coming weeks.

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Top Rated Comments

Agit21 Avatar
30 months ago
Good. Long overdue.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoshBoy Avatar
30 months ago
Maybe Spotify should invest in billions of dollars and create their own phones, laptops and speakers……… as well as software design.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnipgnop Avatar
30 months ago
It is proposed that this gives Apple an "unfair advantage," since Spotify is unable to fairly compete with Apple Music ('https://www.macrumors.com/guide/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.

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Spotify was required to provide financial records as part of this complaint and those records proved that Spotify was simply lying about it's competition with Apple. Less than 1% of Spotify's iOS subscribers were paying through the App Store AND those subscriptions were subject to the 15% commission.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
@Brett Avatar
30 months ago
European company complains to EU law makers about unfair playing field with American company whilst boasting about being the biggest music streaming service. Please. This should have been thrown out. Greed puts and simple. Do we need to make a case of the deals spotify makes. Fact is you can sign up for Spotify online so no unfair advantage. Of course they are free to make their own OS.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ethosik Avatar
30 months ago
If I make peanut butter, how can I possibly compete with target on their brand peanut butter if it’s $2 and I need to sell mine for $3!

Seriously these price comparisons are just ridiculous. Go to any store. Any two similar products are priced differently. If your product needs to cost more, you need to make it BETTER than the competitor. Apple does this every day. Cheaper Android exists. Cheaper Dell PC exists. How can Apple possibly compete?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoldOnApple Avatar
30 months ago
The problem, for Spotify, is that removing in app purchases and forcing customers to visit Spotify.com to pay, that actually costs them more money than it saves them. Offering in app purchases increases subscription rates above 30% because of the convenience. Presumably in an alternate reality where Spotify has a monopoly on smartphones, Spotify would be willing to let Apple sell their subscription service through the Spotify app store with no fees at all?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)