Apple to face additional antitrust charge from EU regulators in music streaming probe

Apple will face an additional EU antitrust charge in the coming weeks as part of an investigation sparked by a complaint from Spotify, a sign that EU law enforcement is strengthening their case against the company. business.

Last year, the European Commission accused the iPhone maker of distorting competition in the music streaming market via restrictive rules for its App Store that force developers to use its own in-app payment system and prevent them from inform users of other purchase options.

These requirements have also come under scrutiny in the United States and Britain.

Additional costs set out in a so-called Supplementary Statement of Objections are usually imposed on companies when the EU competition authority has gathered new evidence or changed certain elements to strengthen its case.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Apple will face an additional antitrust charge that will be brought against the multinational tech giant in a few weeks.

The Commission declined to comment. Apple had no immediate comment.

Apple may face an additional EU antitrust charge in the coming weeks as part of an investigation triggered by a complaint from Spotify, a sign that EU law enforcement is strengthening their case against the company. company (an Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple Store on 5 Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York)

Apple may face an additional EU antitrust charge in the coming weeks as part of an investigation triggered by a complaint from Spotify, a sign that EU law enforcement is strengthening their case against the company. company (an Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple Store on 5 Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York)

Last year, the European Commission accused the iPhone maker of distorting competition in the music streaming market via restrictive rules for its App Store that force developers to use its own in-app payment system and prevent them from inform users of other purchase options.  Such requirements have also come under scrutiny in the US and Britain (File photo of an iPhone 13 pro pictured)

Last year, the European Commission accused the iPhone maker of distorting competition in the music streaming market via restrictive rules for its App Store that force developers to use its own in-app payment system and prevent them from inform users of other purchase options. Such requirements have also come under scrutiny in the US and Britain (File photo of an iPhone 13 pro pictured)

In 2019, Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission, accusing Apple of applying App Store rules to “limit choice and stifle innovation to the detriment of user experience”.

One of the key elements of Spotify’s complaint argued that Apple’s policy of taking a 30% commission on ‌App Store‌ purchases forces the music streaming giant to charge existing subscribers additional money. per month for its Premium plan – otherwise it wouldn’t be able to collect the typical monthly fee of $9.99.

Spotify says it gives Apple an “unfair advantage” because it can keep its own prices lower while forcing other companies to use Apple’s own payment system lest it be blocked from paying. operate on the platform.

In April 2021, the investigation revealed that Apple breached EU competition law and a case against the tech giant is pending.

But Apple is just one of many tech giants that must be reined in by landmark EU legislation aimed at breaking their grip on the market.

Spotify in 2019 filed a complaint with the European Commission, accusing Apple of applying App Store rules to

Spotify in 2019 filed a complaint with the European Commission, accusing Apple of applying App Store rules to “limit choice and stifle innovation to the detriment of user experience”.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) will force companies such as Google, Apple and Meta to open up their services to small businesses.

It is the biggest regulatory move the bloc has ever taken in its bid to tackle anti-competitive behavior within the industry.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, said the so-called gatekeepers “should now face up to their responsibilities”.

The legislation was first proposed more than a year ago amid frustrations over how tech giants – mostly based in the US – have been able to delay and even thwart attempts to impose almonds.

Rather than the past practice of punishing companies after lengthy antitrust investigations, the DMA aims to directly prohibit the behavior in the first place.

Officials hope that forcing the world’s biggest companies to open up their systems – which they currently completely control – will provide a fairer market for app developers, small businesses and publishers in the online advertising market.

The DMA will only apply to businesses that are worth more than £63 billion, have at least 45 million monthly users and have annual sales of £6.25 billion.

Any violation will be punished by heavy fines of up to ten percent of the company’s annual income – up to one-fifth in the event of a repeat offence.

The legislation, which was approved last month, will now have to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament.

It is expected to come into effect in the fall of 2022.

German MEP Andreas Schwab, who led the negotiations for the European Parliament, said the deal “heralds a new era of technology regulation in the world” and would end “the ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech”.

He said: “App developers will have whole new opportunities, small businesses will have more access to business-relevant data, and the online advertising market will become fairer.”

German MEP Andreas Schwab, who led the negotiations for the European Parliament, said the deal would

German MEP Andreas Schwab, who led the negotiations for the European Parliament, said the deal would “launch a new era of technology regulation in the world” and would end “the ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech” ( Schwab photographed in December 2021)

In Apple's case, the company would be forced to open its App Store to third-party payment options rather than forcing users to use its own payment system.  Meanwhile, Google is expected to offer users of smartphones running the company's Android operating system if they want to use alternatives to its search engine, Maps app and Chrome browser.

In Apple’s case, the company would be forced to open its App Store to third-party payment options rather than forcing users to use its own payment system. Meanwhile, Google is expected to offer users of smartphones running the company’s Android operating system whether they want to use alternatives to its search engine, Maps app and Chrome browser.

Among the new rules, tech giants will be prohibited from ranking their own products or services higher than those of others or reusing data collected from other services.

There will also be tighter restrictions on targeted online advertising and stricter requirements for different messaging apps and social media platforms to work together.

In Apple’s case, the company would be forced to open its App Store to third-party payment options rather than forcing users to use its own payment system.

It is also expected to loosen its grip on the iPhone by allowing users to uninstall its Safari web browser or its own apps that currently cannot be removed.

Meanwhile, Google is expected to offer users of smartphones running the company’s Android operating system whether they want to use alternatives to its search engine, Maps app and Chrome browser.

Following the announcement, Apple said it’s concerned that parts of the DMA “create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users.”

Google said it supported “many” of the DMA’s ambitions, particularly around consumer choice, but feared the rules would “reduce innovation and choice for Europeans”.

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