"Our preliminary conclusion: Apple violates European Union competition law"This is the first thing that the relentless Margrethe Vestager has communicated after announcing that the European Commission has sent a statement of objections to Apple on the rules of the App Store for music streaming providers, following a demand from Spotify to Apple for "intentionally limiting options and stifling innovation."
This lawsuit was filed two years ago, and during that period, the Commission opened an antitrust investigation into the policies of the store and Apple Pay. Today is one more step, and the logical thing is, because of what has happened in many cases (Valve, recently), is that the European Union continues to investigate and the case ends in a fine.
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At the center of the debate is the business model of the App Store and subscriptions. But it adds, of course, that since 2015, Apple has a competitor to Spotify such as Apple Music, which benefits from not paying commissions and advertising as part of the system. In this sense, the Commission has reported that "it charges them commissions and prohibits them from informing about alternative subscription options."
Our preliminary conclusion: @Manzana is in breach of EU competition law. @AppleMusic compete with other music streaming services. But @Manzana charges high commission fees on rivals in the App store & forbids them to inform of alternative subscription options. Consumers losing out.- Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) April 30, 2021
"Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming options and distorts the competition"
Vestager has summarized very well in the statement of the European Commission what they have concluded in a preliminary way:
"By setting strict rules in the app store that put competing music streaming services at a disadvantage, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming options and distorts the competition. This is done by charging high fees to rivals in every transaction in the app store, and forbidding them to inform their customers about alternative subscription options. "
As we see, the Commission not only accuses Apple for the commissions, which it considers high, but for the fact that Apple does not allow Spotify and others to indicate that through its website they can register for its service (To avoid having to pay 30% to Apple, a fact for which some companies such as Spotify or Netflix have come to charge more to customers with Apple devices than if you signed up on the web).
In that sense, they list those two concerns: that Apple collect that 30% on a mandatory basis on the sale of distributed digital goods if using iOS, and that it limits "the ability of application developers to inform users on alternative purchase possibilities outside of the applications. "And the thing does not stop there, because the Commission affirms that for the first, they have investigated that the prices that users usually pay on the platform are higher than outside of it.
Now, Apple may examine the investigation documents, respond in writing, and request a hearing., for the different parties to analyze the case. The reality is that when the European Union sends these statements of charges, the investigation is well advanced and the final decision rarely changes, although as they say in the statement, "the outcome of the investigations is not prejudged."